Warning: array_slice() expects parameter 1 to be array, boolean given in /home/uvatha/public_html/kayhoflander/wp-content/plugins/my-twitter-widget/widget.php on line 164

Warning: key() expects parameter 1 to be array, null given in /home/uvatha/public_html/kayhoflander/wp-content/plugins/my-twitter-widget/widget.php on line 164



Dec 30

Learning how to become a Secret Santa

Haven’t you always wanted to be a Secret Santa but have no idea how to begin, and perchance, are you afraid of doing it all wrong anyway?

Enter Larry Stewart, Kansas City’s famed Secret Santa, someone with a very big heart who is showing us how to help those in need.

The legend of St. Nicholas is alive and well in the heartland because of this out-of-the- ordinary Secret Santa who calls Kansas City home.

It was a noble calling Larry Stewart answered 26 years ago when he decided to spread his joy and cash around the Midwest. Eventually, he took his mission nationwide.

Like St. Nicholas, Stewart gives to those in need as he hands out $100 bills, sometimes by the handful, to complete strangers during the Christmas season.

After more than a quarter of a century of anonymous giving, Kansas City’s now celebrated Secret Santa revealed his identity in November of 2006 in order to teach others how to perform random acts of kindness.

Larry Stewart, currently battling cancer, is committed to cloning other Secret Santas while he can. His website (secretsantausa.com) tells us how.

As the old Chinese saying goes, “When the student is ready, the teacher will come.”

Are we students ready?

How does Larry Stewart do it anyway?

Come to think of it, how does any ordinary person learn to become St. Nicholas, aka Larry Stewart?

How do we give to those in need without committing acts of foolish generosity or engaging in reckless spending that could hurt worse than it helps?

I have heard some say that whenever they have enough money to hand out hundreds they will do it gladly. Others say that when they have enough funds to buy a complete turkey or ham dinner with all the trimmings, they will surprise a needy family.

The truth is that by waiting until we can do things in a big way, we often end up doing nothing at all.

Mother Teresa once said “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”

Buy a jug of milk, not a turkey dinner. Buy a pair of shoes for one person. We do not have to outfit an entire family. Give $5 bills instead of hundreds to random strangers. We do not have to wait for the holiday season either, any time will do.

Although we may not have Larry Stewart’s cash, we can have his big heart.

In order to learn how to become a Secret Santa, we have to start small.

Larry Stewart emulates St. Nicholas himself so some perspective on the first Santa Claus might be in order.

The story of Santa Claus begins with the tale of a young man named Nicholas, who in the third century followed the credo of sharing whatever little he had with the poor. Throughout history, stories tell of how he became a generous benefactor and helper of those in need.

Nicholas lost everything as a young man. His wealthy parents died, and with their passing, his secure and protected lifestyle was gone.

Raised to be a devout Christian, Nicholas used his entire and meager inheritance to help the needy and anyone who was sick or suffering.

Over time, legends grew about the wondrous deeds of St. Nicholas, eventually earning him sainthood.

Sailors adopted him as their patron, Catholics and Orthodox venerated him, and Protestants honored him.

Stewart, just like Nicholas, lost his parents. Orphaned and without inheritance, Stewart was raised by his grandparents.

Kindly strangers who helped Larry Stewart along the way taught him by example how to give anonymously and without expectation of reward.

The teacher is here, are we students ready?