giving back

A Woman Shares How Much Her "Angel Tree" Gifts Meant To Her As A Child

Just in case you want to know how kids who get your donated gifts feel on Christmas.

Originally Published: 
After a video of a woman Angel Tree shopping went viral, one former recipient shared her personal ex...
@maybashleymarie / TikTok

For decades, the Salvation Army Angle Tree has helped provide Christmas gifts for hundreds of thousands of children around the U.S. each year. Once a child or senior adult in need has been registered and accepted as an “Angel” their Christmas wish list is shared with donors in your community who purchase gifts of new clothing and toys. The program provides more than one million children with new clothing, toys, books, games, tablets, and educational materials.

Recently, popular content creators on TikTok have been going buck wild with Angel Tree requests, constantly showing up at Walmart, pulling a tag from their Angel Tree, and recording their haul as they make kid’s Christmas dreams a reality. Now, this is a TikTok influencer trend I can get behind!

After another video of Angel Tree shopping, posted by Serena Neel, went viral, one former recipient of Angle Tree philanthropy shared her own personal experience and what these kinds of acts of service mean to the people who are behind them.

“So I am a former Angel Tree kid,” TikTok user @maybashleymarie, explains in her video. “When I was about 16, I lived in a homeless shelter with my parents.”

“And I remember when everybody came around and asked us what we wanted to put on our list for the angel tree, I was writing this out. And I thought about it really hard because there was stuff that I wanted, but there was also stuff that I really needed. Because as a kid in a shelter, you basically have the clothes that are on your back and that's it.”

Even all these years later, Ashley remembers exactly what she asked for on that Angel Tree including hoop earrings, black Converse sneakers, black eye liner, jeans, and a Playboy Bunny blanket.

“This lady went above and beyond for me,” she recalled.

Instead of one pair of hoop earrings, Ashley was gifted 24 pairs which came in all different colors and sizes. She also got enough black eyeliner to last her years. As for the black Converse sneakers, Ashley swore she would have been fine with a knockoff pair. However, that Christmas, she got the real deal.

“I wore those for years,” she said. “I loved those things. I was going to be completely happy with generic. I mean, completely just thankful for anything, but she went and got me real Converse.”

Finally, she scored the pink Playboy Bunny blanket.

“And I did not think at all, not one bit that that lady was going to actually give me a Playboy Bunny blanket, but when I opened that light pink blanket that said Playboy all across it, I was so excited. I was so happy. I still have that blanket to this day,” she said.

Ashley goes on to say that she appreciates this trend of influencer (with so much money to burn), going out and buying things for other people.

“I have to say, I am so thankful for all of these influencers and all these people with real money to be able to go out and actually buy gifts for these kids because you have absolutely no idea, no idea the difference that it makes in their lives and how that'll be lifetime memories for them,” she concluded.

After her video went viral, with over 2.1 million views, several TikTok users chimed in, noting they were touched by her vulnerable post.

“Seeing the other side of the angel tree just made me ball my eyes out, and now I must go do one,” she wrote.

Another said, “I saw people angry that people were making a trend out of it, if anything this is the type of trend this world needs😭😭”

A fellow Angel Tree kid chimed in and said, “I was an angel tree kid when my parents were in rehab. It really does make a kid’s whole world.”

You can find an Angel Tree by contacting your local Salvation Army office. You can use the location finder on to find the nearest facility.

This article was originally published on