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Elderly man leaves holiday gifts for a 2-year-old neighbor before death: 'For the next 14 years'

After Watson's death, his daughter dropped off a large bag at his neighbor’s house.

Elderly man leaves holiday gifts for a 2-year-old neighbor before death: 'For the next 14 years'
Cover Image Source: Twitter | Owen Williams

Editor's note: This article was originally published on December 5, 2022. It has since been updated.

Christmas spirit is all about spreading joy. It could be by exchanging gifts, spending time with loved ones or even decorating the house for the season. Ken Watson, an octogenarian, knew exactly how to share this joy with his neighbors even after his death. In December 2018, about two months after Watson passed away, his neighbor Owen Williams was surprised to receive 14 wrapped Christmas gifts for his daughter. The senior had bought and wrapped the gifts for the then-two-year-old before he died, according to Washington Post.

The Williams family befriended Watson when they moved into their new home in the town of Barry, Wales, in 2015. Ken was in his eighties and gradually, they got to know more about his incredible life. "He was an ex-salvage marine diver, a seaman, a carpenter, and an engineer, that's not all. He even baked a wedding cake once," Owen told CNN. In 2016, the Williams welcomed their first daughter, Cadi, and Watson quickly took on the role of a doting grandfather, always making sure to drop off Christmas presents for her. 


After Watson's death, his daughter stopped by the Williams home with a large bag, which Owen initially thought might be garbage that she wanted him to throw away. Instead, the bag contained Christmas presents that Watson had bought and wrapped for Cadi for the next 14 years.

Owen said: "[Watson's daughter] was quite emotional and I got a lump in my throat. My wife was on FaceTime with her mum in Ireland. I popped the bag onto the kitchen counter and my wife started to tear up and I started to tear up, and her mum started to tear up."


Owen thinks of the bag as a "Mary Poppins" bag as there were so many presents. "It's actually an unbelievable Christmas story. I kept reaching into the bag and pulling out more presents," he said. "You could have knocked me over with a feather. It was quite something."


He also took to Twitter to ask people whether he should give all the gifts to his daughter at once or keep "a present from Ken" for the next 14 years. But the issue is, he wrote, "We really have to open them now. Nobody wants to give a fifteen-year-old Duplo!" He started a poll, "What do you all think?" There were two options: "Open now and rewrap" or "lucky dip till 2032." A majority of Twitter users voted to give Cadi one mystery present a year.

"I think we’re going to turn it into a Christmas story for our daughter,” said Owen. “We’ll do one a year for the next 14 years. It feels like the right thing to do now. If she opens a box of Lego when she’s 16 then so be it." Meanwhile, he was shocked to that out that most people on the Internet do not have any sort of relationship with their neighbors. He said that it "stands out to me, how few people know their neighbors. People are saying, 'That’s so lovely. I don’t even know my neighbors.'"


He shared this message for all: "This Christmas, take your neighbors a bottle of wine or a small gift, a token. Just say, ‘Hi.’ You can open a new world as we did.”

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