12/25/2013 11:27 am ET

7 Inspiring Acts Of Kindness That Capture The True Essence Of The Holiday Spirit

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‘Tis the season to be jolly and these seven incredible stories of generosity remind us why. Secret Santas, benevolent celebrities and regular every day folk have come out in droves to give back in ways that show us all what the essence of the holiday season is really all about.

  • When This Teen Scored Nearly $1,000 Worth Of Food For The Poor
    Jordon Cox, 16, has a knack for extreme couponing, a talent he uses to help he and his struggling mom get by, according to the Telegraph. But this Christmas season, the savvy teen decided to also use his unique skill set to help struggling families. Cox collected hundreds of coupons and purchased about $935 worth of groceries for less than a penny. He then donated it all to Doorstep, a nonprofit that disperses food to disadvantaged families.
  • When Bill Gates Played Secret Santa
    When Reddit user "Rachel" got a stuffed cow from her Secret Santa through the website's gift exchange program she at first "felt bad" for the guy named "Bill" who had to navigate her involved wish list. But as she read on, the shocked user realized that her Santa wasn't any ordinary Bill, it was Bill Gates. The co-founder of Microsoft had donated a cow in her name to an impoverished family through Heifer International and also got her a National Geographic book on the best places to travel, since she did mention her passion for seeing the world.
  • When This Man Donated A $40 Million Jackpot
    From the moment Tom Crist, 64, learned he won a $40 million lottery jackpot, the Canada native knew he wouldn't keep the funds, the Calgary Herald reported. The father of four announced earlier this month that he would donate every penny to a number of organizations in memory of his wife who passed away from cancer last year when she was 57.
  • When Beyonce Bought Gifts For Walmart Shoppers
    While en route to a concert in Boston, Beyonce made a pitstop at a Tewksbury, Mass., Walmart to make Christmas that much brighter for a bunch of shoppers, according to local Fox affiliate WGHP. The Grammy-award winning singer paid for the first $50 of each customer's purchase, spending a total of $37,500.
  • When This Airline Made Wishes Come True
    When WestJet passengers heading to Calgary from Hamilton and Toronto had a chance to share their Christmas wishes with an electronic Santa before departing, they each mentioned an array of wishes -- from socks to televisions. And when they arrived, after their "elves" scurried around to fulfill their wish lists, the passengers were met with their dream gifts at baggage claim.
  • When This Charity Got Troops Home For Holidays
    Oftentimes when troops find out they can go home for the holidays, the good news comes too late for them to book an affordable plane ticket. That's when Let's Bring 'Em Home steps in. Since 2001, the organization has been buying airline tickets for servicemen and servicewomen and this year the group booked 122 tickets.
  • When This Generous Guy Handed Out $100 Bills
    Every holiday season, since 2007, an anonymous donor in Missouri has been doling out his signature "Secret Santa" $100 bills to people who look as though they could use a little boost, KSHB reported. The mystery guy said he looks for people who have sadness on their faces so that he can "give them hope that their life can be changed.”