Shaquille O’Neal, Shaq, is keeping up with his tradition of bringing the joy of Christmas to underprivileged kids who may not have received a Christmas present this year. According to FOX 5, Shaq hosted a surprise giveaway for families in Georgia on December 21, giving children gifts to brighten their Christmas and memories to last a lifetime.
Families signed up for the toy giveaway event not knowing who would be hosting it, and it wasn’t until the event drew near that they found out the ‘Secret Santa’ was Shaq-a-Claus. Bringing a smile to the faces of children and their families, Shaq embraced the true meaning of Christmas, letting children know they are thought of, cared for, and loved.
Shaq shared with FOX 5 that he does not view his event as “giving back to the community,” noting that it is just what people are supposed to do for others. Shaq explained that he knows what it is like to wake up on Christmas morning without having one present to open, and being able to give children who may also have that experience a chance to open a gift is part of what motivates his generosity.
The tradition began in 1992, when Shaq’s mother, Dr. Lucille O’Neal, encouraged him to host a toy giveaway event and thus invented Shaq-a-Claus. Elated to host the annual event again, Shaq said, “one for the children, one for the people and one for my mother.”
For 30 years, Shaq-a-Claus has been bringing Christmas cheer to those who need it most. His event has expanded to several cities since it began, and businesses that support his efforts are helping it grow. Making dreams come true, Shaq-a-Claus is not only brightening the Christmas for children and their families, he is also filling their hearts with the love and joy that comes from the compassion of others.