According to Disney biographer Bob Thomas, Walt loved being able to play “Santa Walt” so much that he had to develop a filing system to keep the names of the children he gave Christmas gifts to each year organized. This Santa File contained the names of hundreds of children…these children were the kids of his personal friends, they were the children of Hollywood executives, they were the children of people who worked at the studio, and even children of members of the press. Each year the children would receive one large gift and an a assortment of smaller ones, each gift individually wrapped to be opened by the child. The gifts were Disney character merchandise and were gifts that each child looked forward to receiving.
Walt did not do this alone, as a matter of fact, Santa Walt had to recruit a number of elves to help him pull off this Christmas gift giving event each year. These elves were secretaries at the studio. The elves would be responsible for putting all the packages together for each child. To make this happen, Walt would open up a special Santa’s Workshop in the studio warehouse, this room became Christmas Central as the gifts were put together and shipped. The elves would go to work early in November and work right up into Christmas week making sure no one was forgotten. Each day Santa Walt would drop by to make sure it was being done just the way he intended as he inspected the packages to be sent.
This gift giving would continue to until the child reached the age of 12. Even then they were remembered, as the gifts ended, they continued to receive a special Christmas greeting from Walt each year by Christmas card.
Now, it is fair to ask, what kind of man would do this?
What kind of man would keep a file full of the names of kids who he wanted to make sure got Christmas gifts from him each year? What kind of man wanted to make sure the gifts were special Disney merchandise that was not as readily available to the public in those days? What kind of man would create a workshop in his studio, put together a staff to select, wrap, and ship these gifts? What kind of man would do this for hundreds of children until they were 12 years old..and then still wanted to make sure they were not forgotten?
The answer is simple…Walt Disney was a man who understood his responsibility to give back to others. He understood his success and the blessings he enjoyed and wanted to make sure that he didn’t forget to remember others at Christmas. He was a man who believed that children needed gifts and he was in a position to give them. He was a man who understood the importance of remembering others and sharing gifts. Walt Disney cared about others.
He never lost sight of who he was and where he came from. And he never lost sight of who he was doing it for.
As Christmas gets closer and closer, perhaps it is a good time for you to remember the importance of sharing the things you have been blessed with…there are others this Christmas season that you can bless. Perhaps it is with a gift, a smile, a note, a call, or even a card. Perhaps you might have some people in your life that just need to know you remember them.
Never underestimate the power of giving a gift…and a gift from the heart is the best gift of all.
Get ready to celebrate Christmas once again….
Why not share this story about Walt Disney and then add a thank you note telling the person you share it with, “Merry Christmas” and remind them just how much they mean to you in your life.
Make this Christmas the best ever!