In The Spirit Of Giving

Santa Claus Paid An Extra Special Visit To Kids At A Fire Shelter In California

"I can’t help out, like the firefighters ... But Santa’s here to give hugs."

We love tinsel and trappings as much as the next Elf on the Shelf devotees, but here at A Plus, we believe that true wintertime magic comes in the form of connection and human kindness. Over the next month, come back and join us in raising a glass to those who give — because what's December without a little holiday spirit?

Santa Claus got a jump on his Christmas Eve delivery route, making an extra special early stop at a fire evacuation shelter in California on Tuesday, December 5. The jolly old man, played by Greg Lindfors, offered hugs and support to the children and families forced to flee their homes due to the the Thomas Fire sweeping across more than 65,000 acres in Southern California.

When he heard about the pervasive damage caused by the fire, Lindfors wanted to help however he could. "I figured hugs are about the best I could do right now," Lindfors told KABC in the below video interview. "Santa is really good at hugs. And right now I can't help out, like the firefighters — God bless them — or the Red Cross. But Santa's here to give hugs."

Upon arrival, Santa was greeted with 300 families registered at the shelter, according to the Red Cross. "We brought Santa to the kids to bring a little bit of cheer," Laura Reagan, who normally helps set up photos with Santa at the Pacific View Mall, told The Los Angeles Times.  

By 3 p.m., Santa's magical appearance was accompanied by piles of donated clothes and blankets for evacuees to use, the Times reported. Besides concrete donations, several have created YouCaring fundraisers to help those affected by the fires.

Since the Thomas Fire broke out earlier this week, more than 25,000 residents have had to evacuate their homes. Smaller brush fires, including the Creek, Rye and Skirball, have warranted more evacuations and led state officials to shut down Interstate 405. Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles County.

In difficult times like this, it's important to find hope wherever one can, which is what makes Lindfors' small, yet significant, gesture all the more meaningful. While many of the children embraced Santa and told them what they wanted for Christmas, one little boy just wanted a very long hug.

(H/T: PEOPLE)

Cover image via Mike Arney on Unsplash

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