Secret Santas are not the only ones spreading Christmas cheer this year.
"Layaway angels" are paying off the small-payment programs at local retailers like Walmart in Cary and Kmart in Raleigh, to make the holiday brighter for some families.
At the Kmart on Six Forks Road, about 35 accounts with toys and children's clothing on layaway have been paid off since Friday. The 20 to 25 "layaway angels" all wish to remain anonymous.
Assistant manager Alysia Cunningham gets to call customers to let them know their accounts have been paid off.
"It tells me there are wonderful people out in this world," Cunningham said Wednesday. "Where they're coming from, I don't know, but it's been a miracle."
Alonda Justice, a mother of three, was on the receiving end of one of Cunningham's calls. For her, the kind gesture means no more stress about the cost of holiday gifts.
"It was just the biggest surprise you can get as an adult for Christmas," Justice said.
Her layaway balance was around $266. Justice's layaway angels also resolved three other layaway accounts totaling $571.