Nightly News   |  December 17, 2011

A Christmas role reversal

In Racine, Wis., kids become "Santas" to seniors. NBC's Kevin Tibbles reports.

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>>> finally tonight, they say it's better to give than to receive, we can all take part in the many random acts of kindness we're heard about this holiday season . tonight we want to highlight kids making special delivery toss those in need. here's nbc's kevin tibbles. rudolph the red-nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose

>> christmas can be a hard time of year for the elderly or disabled who have very little family.

>> buying a christmas present is out of the question because of their fixed economy and the way the economy is.

>> reporter: in racine, wisconsin, that's where the younger generation steps. in brightening up the holiday with their music, their gifts and smiles. all part of a program called "be a santa to a senior". trees are set up in local shops and decorated are ornaments containing requests from the needy. volunteers then buy the gifts, donate them, and they're all wrapped up, often by youngsters for a very special delivery . school kids and grownups then swoop in to deck the halls of local retirement communities with laughter and song.

>> how does it look?

>> it looks perfect on you.

>> reporter: each resident gets a present.

>> i'm so happy. very happy. thank you so much for everything.

>> a scarf, yeah.

>> reporter: locally the program will distribute 700 gifts this year. nation-wide, 1.5 million packages have been presented since 2004 . leaving the master gift giver himself very impressed.

>> all you hear is the bad stuff about the kids. right now you can see that there's so much good in this country.

>> what does christmas mean to you?

>> to be nice to people and give them presents.

>> i think it's marvelous that they care enough to come here.

>> what's the meaning of christmas ?

>> to make somebody else happy.

>> and that makes you happy inside, too?

>> yes.

>> reporter: and each visit comes gift wrapped in song. we wish you a merry christmas

>> reporter: kevin tibl tibbles, nbc news, racine, wisconsin.