A cloud of mystery has surrounded an East Idaho Secret Santa who has been giving gifts to people in the community for the past six years.
This year, the anonymous donor is giving away more than $500,000 to families in the area, Inside Edition reported.
One teacher received a car while a blind man got thousands of dollars in gift cards. Nate Eaton, the news director of East Idaho News, has covered the Secret Santa for years and is one of the few who knows his identity.
He has “had the responsibility” of keeping the donor’s identity a secret for more than six years and “has taken on the role as being the face of Secret Santa by going out into the community to hand out the gifts,” according to Inside Edition.
Despite the speculation about Eaton being the Secret Santa, Eaton says he is “not the Secret Santa.”
Every day until Christmas, Eaton and his news team will be handing out presents ranging in the thousands of dollars to 100 families “who have been nominated and vetted” with gifts tailored to their circumstances.
One couple, Carissa and Randy Heaps, are parents to eight children and are caring for aging and sick family members.
Their cars all had over 150,000 miles on them and constantly broke down, so Secret Santa surprised them with a Hyundai Santa Fe and $2,000 in gas gift cards to make the trips to see doctors a little easier, East Idaho News reported.
Secret Santa even covers the taxes and fees associated with large gifts, such as cars. Even expenses such as registration are also taken care of by the Secret Santa, who will often write a check to cover the expense.
“Secret Santa goes to the bank and gets a cashier’s check — you don’t know who it’s from,” Eaton said. “With the amount, you can cash it at any bank.”
Eaton is convinced that Secret Santa will not be revealing his identity anytime soon.
“I think his goal is to remain anonymous until the day he dies,” Eaton said.