After experiencing an unexpected Christmas joy as an Angel Tree kid, the woman decided to carry on the cheer and urged people to consider it too.
What is Christmas if not for the joy of giving? The cheerful glee that children express when opening their Christmas presents is worth every penny. Many individuals and organizations are now focusing on spreading Christmas joy to underprivileged homes and the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program is one of the most popular ones. As a former Angel Tree kid, Annie (@lifewithanniel) shared on TikTok the most unforgettable Christmas of her childhood that was made possible by the program's goodwill.
Explaining her family's situation when they moved to America, Annie said, "So, it's Christmas of 2002. It's our first year in America. I'm 5 years old. My brother is 6, almost seven and my dad's making 50 bucks a week, $200 a month. I don't know how we survived." She then mentioned that neither she nor her parents were aware of the Angel Tree program, but someone enrolled her and her brother in it. She guessed it could've been her teacher who got all those Angel Tree gifts delivered.
"All I remember was waking up to Lisa Frank toys everywhere. I had no idea who Lisa Frank was. There was a Lisa Frank backpack, little journals, a little lock thing, clothes, shoes and a doll that had rollerblades. It was so colorful and girly and I was amazed. It was the best Christmas ever," she said, getting emotional.
"I thought that Santa had outdone himself that year. This was a completely different Christmas than ever before," she said, adding, "I thought it was like American magic." As an adult, when Annie spoke to her mom, she learned that her parents could afford only a board game for her and her brother to share that Christmas and were happy about the kids receiving Angel Tree gifts. Annie said that she felt so loved by her family because the parents were equally excited by the new bag, clothes and shoes that she could wear to school.
This life-changing Christmas made a huge impact on Annie and she was determined to give back to society when she was old enough for it. "When Christmas time came around, I and my friends went to the local church and adopted some angel kids," she said, "I saved up two of my paychecks because I worked minimum wage at a gym daycare. It wasn't much money, but I bought these kids Angel Tree toys, shoes, coats, backpacks and clothes. I was so excited." Annie said that though she was an Angel Tree kid for just a year or two, those memories still move her. She requested that the viewers consider taking part in the program because "it will change a kid's life even if it doesn't seem like it."
While some users lauded Annie's efforts, hundreds of former Angel Tree kids and contributors shared their experiences in the comments. "I was also an Angel Tree kid. Just dropped off the gift for the 13-year-old I picked. She wanted a purse. She got a Coach!" commented @rlvalentine. "I was an angel tree kid, too! I remember it strongly! It was an exciting Christmas for my family! Thanks to all who do this," wrote @julieerickson252. "This inspired me. Might be a little late, but gonna see if I can get an Angel tree kid," wrote @katconnersterling.