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Christmas is coming. Believe!

‘Michigan Angel’ makes people believe in Christmas again

By —— Bio and Archives--December 18, 2011

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imageIn 1947 it was Miracle on 34th Street with the setting as Macy’s department store.

Wonderful as it is,  Miracle on 34th Street is just a movie. Right in the middle of a jobless recession in 2011, miracles are happening at Kmart and every one of them is real. 

This is how the Miracle at Kmart found its beginning: Somewhere in the State of Michigan, an anonymous angel came along and made Christmas 2011 for parents with clothes and toys for children on Kmart layaway.

No one in the media seems to know who the Angel of Michigan is, whether the angel is male,  female, young or old.  The best angels are always anonymous and as scripture says the best of good deeds are the ones only you and the Lord know about.

But it is now general knowledge in the case of the Michigan angel that the angel’s deeds were copied in Kmart in other states just days before Christmas. 

Anonymous donors are paying off Kmart layaway accounts: “At Kmart stores across the country, Santa seems to be getting some help.” (ABC News, Dec. 16, 2011).  “Anonymous donors are paying off strangers’ layaway accounts, buying the Christmas gifts other families couldn’t afford, especially toys and children’s clothes set aside by impoverished parents.”

“The phenomenon seems to have began in Michigan before spreading, Kmart executives said.

“Dona Bremser, an Omaha nurse, was at work when a Kmart employee called to tell her that someone had paid off the $70 balance on her layaway account, which held nearly $200 for her 4-year-old son.

“I was speechless,” Bremser said.  “It made me believe in Christmas again.”

Dozens of other customers have received similar calls in Nebraska, Iowa, Indiana and Montana.”

Following the Michigan original, benefactors are calling Kmart to ask how they can help families who have items on layaway for young children.  They often pay the lion’s share of the balance, generally all but a few dollars or cents so that the layaway order remains in the store’s system ready for pick up in time for Christmas.

It would take an angel to understand that when times are so hard,  coming up with the last payments to pay off layaway items put away weeks ago, can be all but impossible for some.

It’s as if the Michigan angel knew that the very first Kmart, then known as Kresge, opened in Detroit, Mi.

It’s as if the angel knew, too, that Kmart is the one place where parents have been able to put items on layaway for the past forty years.

It was more than a century ago when an entrepreneurial merchant named Sebastian Spering Kresge took a chance on the five-and-dime department store business by opening his first store in downtown Detroit.

Horse and buggies joined new automobiles on the roads when Kresge opened his first store in 1899.

Through lean years and good ones, parents could stock up on candy canes, yard goods, and togs for youngsters at prices families could afford.

Box stores have come along to drive Kmart out of some small towns, including all of Canada,  but ‘The Home of the Layaway’ will always be there.

There has always been something small town and appealing about Kmart that kept it part of family life.

You can find the Kmart nearest to you and be like the Michigan angel.

Christmas is coming.


Judi McLeod -- Bio and Archives | Comments

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Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years’ experience in the print media. A former Toronto Sun columnist, she also worked for the Kingston Whig Standard. Her work has appeared on Rush Limbaugh,, Drudge Report,

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