Santa Andre Johnson

Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson made Christmas dreams come true for 11 lucky children. For the eighth year in a row, Johnson has played Santa Claus by treating at-risk children to an 80-second shopping spree at a local Toys “R” Us. Why the number 80? Why, it’s his jersey number of course. Johnson gives his uncle the credit for the idea. The chosen children get 80 seconds to sprint through the store and stuff everything they possibly can inside a shopping cart. Children can leave with full carts, even Johnson was surprised by how much a child can grab in 80 seconds when nothing is off limits! It doesn’t stop there, Johnson gives each kid gifts for their siblings, a gaming system and games to go along with it.

Why is he doing it?

“I’m in a blessed situation so I’m able to help other people. That’s all that matters,” Johnson said. “I’ve always said, if I was able to make it I would do stuff like this.”

Georgia Gay, the grandmother of a chosen child spoke of her appreciation: “I thank God for this, and I thank Andre Johnson for this.”

Johnson’s unique way of spreading the Christmas spirit may be about toys and making children grin, but it’s more about making the less fortunate feel remembered and valued.

“You go through stuff as a kid growing up. You understand certain situations,” Johnson told ESPN. “I understand some of the things these kids go through.”

You may not be able to pull off such a grand gesture (few can). Just remember, it’s Johnson’s generosity, solidarity, and acknowledgement of God’s blessings on his life that allowed him to be a blessing to others. Those are things we can all practice in our lives! Ask young adults:

  • What about this story inspires you most?

  • Consider the ways in which you can bless your community and discuss your service passions.

  • Do you give God enough credit for the blessings in your life? Write down five blessings in your life. How could you turn those into blessings for others?

  • What are some opportunities for you to be a blessing to others this Christmas season?