Teen who helps raise 5 siblings after their mom passed away receives big surprise from ‘Secret Santa’

The past few years have been especially difficult for an eighth-grader named Emily and her family.

Her grandmother passed away of cancer a few years ago, followed by her mom, who succumbed to pancreatic cancer. Worse, she passed on a little over a week before her birthday.

This left 14-year-old Emily with the huge responsibility of helping her dad take care of her five siblings. As the eldest, she needed to step up for her family.

Emily and her younger siblings sitting in front of a Christmas tree
YouTube

Adjusting to life without their mom has been difficult for all of them, but Emily always did her best. Little did she know that there was one person outside their family who appreciated all her efforts.

Emily’s friend wrote East Idaho’s “Secret Santa” to introduce the teen and say why she deserves a great Christmas gift—and Santa took note!

For the past seven years, an anonymous benefactor, dubbed as “Secret Santa,” has been in partnership with East Idaho News to give lavish gifts to any Idahoans who deserve them.

The East Idaho News elves, led by Nate Eaton, travel to different locations in the area during the holiday season to surprise people with gifts big and small. This year, Secret Santa gave away $1 million in presents, and the program has chosen Emily as one of its lucky recipients.

Emily and Henry opening up their gift boxes
YouTube

The squad showed up unannounced, bearing gifts for the young lady and her family. She wasn’t home yet when they arrived, but her dad assured them she would be coming home from school soon, so they waited.

After several minutes, Eaton and his team saw and approached the clueless teenager and her brother while they walked home. The team introduced themselves and told Emily that they had gifts for her.

Emily and Henry opening up their gift boxes
YouTube

“We have presents for you, and you can share them with your siblings,” Eaton said.

Emily and her brother looked perplexed, struggling to figure out exactly what was happening.

Eaton then explained that an anonymous person wanted to give these presents to them. Emily opened the first box, and she was surprised to find multiple gift cards from different local restaurants.

“What?”, Oh my goodness! Thanks,” she exclaimed after learning the gift cards were worth a thousand dollars. With that amount, Emily and her family could enjoy eating at any of these restaurants for quite some time.

Emily waving to the camera to thank Secret Santa
YouTube

Next was the second box, which contained $2,000 worth of gift cards for their personal needs. They can use them to buy shoes, clothes, and more for the whole family.

“This is not a joke,” Eaton said. “You look like you kinda questioning what’s happening here.” The young woman replied, “Yeah, yeah, I’m questioning.”

The next surprise was an extra special treat for Emily, a budding chef. She loves to cook, so Secret Santa decided to give her a $1,000 gift card from grocery stores and another $1,000 gift card for Bed, Bath, And Beyond.

Emily almost went to Bed, Bath, And Beyond that day to shop. Luckily, she didn’t go as planned because a big surprise awaited her at home.

Emily's dad hugging her
YouTube

“Merry Christmas, you guys,” Eaton greeted them, and Emily cheerfully replied with a simple thanks.

“To whoever did this, thank you,” she said while looking at the camera.

The teen was doubtful at first, but the change in her demeanor was apparent. She was more relaxed and cheerful than when she first encountered the squad. Emily even waved to the camera and said, “Thanks. Thanks a ton,” to the nameless donor.

Watch Emily and Henry open their gift boxes in the video below by East Idaho News.

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