Secret Santas giving out cash

Larry Stewart’s Secret Santa World

Thanks to a reader I found out about a group of Secret Santa’s that anonymously pass out $100 bills to random people during the Christmas season. The group was founded by Larry Stewart who anonymously passed out over a $1 million over 26 years. The Secret Santa organization has continued even after Larry passed away 2 years ago.


According to an article I read about the organization…

“It’s not about the man, it’s not about the money, it’s about the message,” the Kansas City Santa said. “Anyone can be a secret Santa with a kind word, gesture, a helping hand.”

He said the money is given without judgment, but on the condition that the receiver pass along a kindness to someone else. Stewart began his holiday tradition at a restaurant in December 1979, after he had just been fired. He gave a waitress $20 and told her to keep the change and was struck by her gratitude.

The article went on to talk a bit about some of the recipients…

Cynthia Brown, 40, was laid off three weeks ago from her food service job. Santa found her at the St. Louis County health clinic and gave her $100, exactly what she had asked to borrow from her mother a night ago to buy food.

“I have three daughters, and I can’t get unemployment yet. I was down in food,” she said.

Leotta Burbank, 50, of West Frankfurt, Ill., was at a thrift store Friday to buy decorations for her sister-in-law’s room at a St. Louis hospice, where she is dying of pancreatic cancer. When Santa gave her money, Burbank collapsed into his arms and wouldn’t stop hugging him.

“God provides,” she said. “This is real emotional for me.”

Secret Santa World is seeking to expand to every state, but so far there are only 9 members in a few select cities. If you are interested in finding out more or getting involved, I encourage you to check out their website –

Technorati Tags: Secret Santas, Larry Stewart

  1. James

    You don’t need an organization to do this. My fiancee and I simply made packets consisting of five $20 bills wrapped with a ribbon. We made twelve of them and headed to the nearest dollar store on a recent Sunday morning in Dover, Delaware.

    Our tactic was to walk up to tired or sad-looking people and say “This is for you. Merry Christmas. Spread the cheer.” and then get away fast before anyone had time to be embarrassed about how to respond. We covered the store in about 90 seconds, including the cashier. It felt like doing a heist in reverse.

    One woman chased us out of the store and told us that she had been worried about how she would feed her family.

    It’s really quite addictive to give like that. It’s somewhat personal, without creating a sense of obligation toward you in the people you help. I recommend it. I’m going to work hard, make money, and do this again, soon.

  2. bob

    I completely agree – I am glad this organization exists, but it should be something that a lot more people get in the habit of doing by themselves! There is a strange but wonderful feeling when you give anonymously or like this to “random” people

  3. Heather

    That is a wonderful act of kindness.

  4. Gayle McLaughlin

    Larry Stewart if from my city. His gestures would always make the news around Christmas. I think all of us have the power to give. Look around, there are so many worthy people who need help.

  5. lisa Hackler

    one of my dreams is to hit the lottery i have always said if i did the first thing i would do was pay my tithes second i would do a kind of toys and clothes for tots and needy families this would be such a good thing for me too i grew up on the poor end and i still struggle so first hand i know what it feels like to have nothing but the love i had in my heart and that made me feel like i had everything thanks for posting this cos now with or without a lottery its on my heart to help as much as i can thank you