It’s better to give than to receive…

Ask any kid and they’ll tell you, Christmas really IS the most wonderful time of the year. The lights! The tree! The food! And let’s not forget about the presents.

Kids spend hours pouring over their Christmas lists, curating the perfect gifts. After all, it’s a chance for them to finally net the things they’ve been pining for all year long.

But one young boy decided to give it all up, trading his gifts for cash. And prepare yourself, your heart is about to grow three sizes too big.

Why an 11-Year-Old Boy Gave Up His Christmas Gifts

christmas gifts
Photo by George Dolgikh

Back in 2015, just days before Christmas, 11-year-old Joseph Martin carefully packed up his presents underneath the Christmas tree and asked his grandmother, Kim Taylor, for help in returning them to the store.

His reason? He wanted to give the money to her best friend’s family.

“I wanted to help my grandma out and she’s one of my friends.”

Joseph Martin via WKRC

That friend was Katrina Luck. At just 48 years old, Luck suffered a massive heart attack on Thanksgiving day. After being in a coma for nearly a month, her family removed her from life support on December 22.

Without life insurance and struggling to pay for funeral expenses, Luck’s family set up a GoFundMe page. They hoped to raise $4,000 to give their mother a “beautiful homegoing.”

“Ms.Katrina was a loving mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, aunt, and friend. She cherished her family,” Lenikka Howell wrote. “Taking care of her mother was one of her top priorities. When you would see Katrina you would see her with a beautiful smile. Helping people and taking care of her family is what she loved to do most.”

Joseph was one of the very first people to donate — $95, the sum total of his Christmas gifts.

How a Boy’s Selfless Act Inspired Others

Inspired by her grandson’s generosity, Taylor decided to get in on the action. She also returned a gift, a Coach purse from her daughter worth $150.

Joseph’s actions not only touched the heart of his grandmother but also gave comfort to the grieving family, including Luck’s daughter, Kynisha Lewis.

“It was touching to me. It was something nice to do. Because he is 11. He’s a child. You’ll never know if some kids would have did that,” Lewis said.

After his story was featured on the local news, donations to the fund skyrocketed. Strangers came forward, wanting to repay the boy for his kindness. They offered to send him Christmas presents in lieu of the ones he gave up. An offer Joseph refused.

In an update on the GoFundMe, Howell wrote:

“Many people have contacted me wanting to send Joseph Martin Christmas presents…Joseph doesn’t want any presents, for people just to make a donation.”

Despite insisting on no gifts, people sent them anyway. Howell added a further update a few days later, writing:

“On behalf of Joseph Martins family, the family extends their appreciation of kind words and gifts. Joseph truly wanted to help his grandmother’s best friend (Katrina Luck) and what better way to express his love, by doing what he did. Joseph will be donating the gifts he receives to children who are less fortunate.”

 This kid is on Santa’s nice list FOR LIFE.

The Gift of Giving

Oftentimes, we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. We go to great lengths to make everything merry and bright. We trim the tree, deck the halls, and shop ’til we drop.

But in all the chaos and commotion, one 11-year-old’s quiet sacrifice reminds us all of the true spirit of the season. At a time in his life when receiving usually overrides giving, he willingly sacrificed his own joy in an incredible act of pure, selfless love.

“I’m just proud of him. I am really touched by it,” his grandmother said. “But he also wanted to let kids know that Christmas is not all about receiving. Christmas is also about giving.”

It’s a reminder we can all carry with us, not just at Christmas time but throughout the entire year.