Secret Santa Keeps On Giving

Nathasha Alvarez Latina Diva On Wheels
Nathasha Alvarez


Hope you enjoyed Teresa’s post yesterday.  Thank you, Icess for starting this holiday blog tour.

Now it’s my turn and I have to get this off my chest.

Less than 30 days ago, I had a total “O-M-G!” experience. The kind you talk about with your closest friends.

No, it’s not that kind of “O-M-G!” experience.

Remember, this is a holiday blog tour.

Santa is the only one who needs to know when I’ve been naughty or nice.

But this experience was just as O-M-G!


O-M-G! Experience

Last November, the students at my school collected, sorted and packed over 5,000 non-perishable food items into a church van to help feed the needy in our community. It was a beautiful sight.

And I couldn’t wait to see their same giving spirit in this year’s toy drive benefiting children in foster care.  Instead, I was smacked around by Scrooges to my left and Scrooges to my right.  What happened to my “O-M-G” people? Who sucked out their souls?

Where were the three ghosts of Christmas? Why weren’t they haunting these people into action?

What could I say to get them to understand that their donations could make a huge impact on others?

So I told them this story.

Story Time

When I was about 18 years old and a freshman in college, my family was going through some tough times during the Christmas season. We lived in a lovely four-bedroom house with a pool. We weren’t dirt poor but this wasn’t going to be one of our best gift giving Christmases. I don’t know the specifics but I knew we simply hit a snag.  But it was a snag I’ll never forget.

On Christmas Eve, we were getting ready to celebrate the holiday with our traditional Colombian soup, Ajiaco.  One of my sisters was in the sunken living room chatting away on the cordless phone, my other little sister was in her room and my baby brother was playing on the floor.

I was in the dining room when the doorbell rang. My sister was closest to the door but she was immersed in her important teenage conversation. After the second doorbell ring, she finally got up to answer the door. By this time, my mom and the other adults left the kitchen curious to know our visitor.  When my sister opened the door, she saw no one. Instead she saw something totally unexpected.

The Surprise

From the front door, down the walkway entrance to the mailbox was a trail of wrapped gifts, my mom and sister were stunned. They stepped out looking to spot the Santa with a hole in his sack.

Evidently, we were the recipients of a secret Santa or Santas.

Each beautifully wrapped gift had our names on it. There were even gifts for the adults. We aren’t talking rinky dinky gifts either. Each gift had a personalized touch. For example, my mom received Isotoner slippers (umm yeah that was a big deal back in the day) and my baby brother received a play tent. We were all so happy with our presents and curious to know who was this generous Santa.

Days, weeks, months and decades later, we still don’t know the person or persons who made our holiday a special one with giving hearts.  I’ll never be able to thank them in person. So what could I do?

Pay It Forward

From then on, if I saw someone in need and it was within my means to help him/her out, I did.

It could be buying a hot dog for a homeless person in Atlanta, Georgia during a business trip to paying for someone’s toll when there were actual humans collecting the quarters from drivers.

So every year, I do my best to rally my students into donating toys because I really believe that one doll or toy car can make a difference in a child.

We don’t need to be rich in the wallet to be rich in the heart.

Have you had a Pay It Forward Experience?

I’d love to hear about it.



Happy holidays! Please continue following the holiday blog tour. Next up is another Natasha! You can’t have too many of us!

  • Steve (JoeBugBuster) Case

    What a wonderful story Nathasha.
    That’s a great example of how… we learn by example! I’m glad that the Secret Santa provided a great Christmas, and a great example.

    • Nathasha Alvarez

      Thank you, Steve. I would love to show my Secret Santa that his/her kindness has motivated me to keep on giving after twenty years. Happy holidays! 🙂

  • Shane Bello

    Told you I read it! Amazing story!

    • Nathasha Alvarez

      Yes, you did. 🙂 Feel better over the break. Thank goodness the injury doesn’t stop you from reading. 😉 Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  • Lynn Atkinson

    What a beautiful story….

    • Nathasha Alvarez

      Thank you, Lynn. 🙂

  • Nicholas Gil

    Wow! Whoever that secret santa was he/she was extremely generous. A lot of us don’t really know how lucky we are to see something under our christmas tree on christmas day. We also dont know how one small five dollar toy can change a child’s life. Great Story!

    • Nathasha Alvarez

      Nicholas, thank you for visiting my page. You’re right, we don’t know how one small gift can make such an impact on someone. Merry Christmas.

  • Jimmy Cabrera

    I love this story! I enjoyed how you explained part of your life as an example.

    • Nathasha Alvarez

      Thank you, Jimmy! I’m glad you appreciated it. Merry Christmas! 🙂

  • Anabel Morales


    Thank you for the reminder of a giving heart. I can recall many Christmases in my childhood when we were in need of basic necessities. Thank you for instilling generosity into your students.

    • Nathasha Alvarez

      Anabel, I remember many times as well. The good thing is to realize we can still have a positive outlook on life right? Thank you for the kind words. I do the best I can with my students. The rest is up to them. Merry Christmas. 🙂

  • Natasha Oliver

    I am in tears. Mostly because you are so right: rich in heart and spirit is not the same as material wealth.

    This year I think I taught my daughter a valuable lesson (one she’ll forget if I don’t reinforce it). But I cleaned out our toy cupboard and donated them to the victims in the Philippines. But what was important, I think, was that I showed her the toys and explained that we were giving them away.

    She was reluctant at first, but I wanted her to want to share. She’s just three, but I think she got it. I wanted her to understood that she was sharing joy as well as her toys.

    Anyway, I don’t do enough of this. Thank you for reminding me that it’s not about the gift, but the joy and love we spread with our love and kindness.

    • Nathasha Alvarez

      My mom had us take one of our toys to donate to a child in Colombia. At first, we were like WHAAT! But when we went to Colombia and saw what the kids were playing with we wanted to give them everything. 🙁
      Love your post too, chica! Merry Christmas. 🙂

    • Nathasha Alvarez

      I read the comment again and loved it all over again. 🙂

  • Manpreet

    Wow! That’s nice and its really nice of you to thank for that experience in such a way. Not many people do it. I haven’t had an experience like you but I surely support the idea of helping others this way like buying something to eat for the poor people or my new practice of buying something to eat for the stray dogs from my pocket money.
    It feels awesome :0

    • Nathasha Alvarez

      Thank you. I agree. Your way is awesome too.