When Lyndsey Imbert of Gulfport asked her daughter two months ago what she wanted Santa Claus to bring her, Elise Imbert’s response brought her mother to tears.
Lyndsey Imbert said she and her 5-year-old daughter drive the beach to Elise’s gymnastics practice every Monday night to enjoy the view and chat about the day. Elise, she said, is a typical 5-year-old girl. She loves dance, T-ball and gymnastics and is obsessed with animals, Disney and all of the Disney princesses.
On a Monday in October, Imbert asked Elise if she had thought about what she wanted for Christmas. She and her husband, Shane, start asking about Santa early so they can prepare in advance.
Elise told her mother, “I think I would really just like him to bring me some money.”
When Lyndsey Imbert asked what she needed money for, Elise told her she wanted “to donate it to all of the animals and children who don’t have families like I do.”
Lyndsey Imbert said she tried to keep her composure in the vehicle, but her daughter’s response led to crying. Two months later, she still cries when she thinks about Elise’s selfless wish for Christmas.
“Talking about it makes my heart so happy,” she said. “It was all her. It just came out of nowhere, and it never changed.”
The Imberts decided to keep asking Elise what she wanted up until Christmas Eve, and her answer never changed. She had all the toys she needed, and she wanted to give things to kids and pets who were not as fortunate as her.
When Elise woke up on Christmas morning, she said she was very excited.
“Money was on the vanity in all 100 dollars (bills) and it was a thousand for dogs and kids,” Elise said.
Santa also left her a note, which Elise read aloud on Wednesday.
Part of the note said, “I love you for being such a thoughtful and loving and child. I hope each and every child and pet has the heart you have for Christmas.”
Elise is donating $500 to Tired Dog Rescue in Gulfport and $500 to the Junior Auxiliary of Gulfport.
“I’m really excited because they have nothing and I want to help them because they need families and food and water and a lot of stuff and I love them,” Elise said.
Lyndsey and Shane Imbert said they are very blessed to have such a giving child. The Imberts have always been advocates for children and animals — they regularly donate to the Humane Society of South Mississippi and attend their fundraising event Rock ’N’ Rollover ever year. Two years ago, they bid on a cute black pug and came home with the newest addition to their family, Lola.
Shane, a project executive for a construction firm, is living in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and comes home to Gulfport every chance he gets. The Imberts did not think twice about chatting with Santa and giving Elise the cash to donate.
“We try our best to instill human goodness and the want to love and help others,” Lyndsey Imbert said. “It helped solidify the fact that we’re doing a good job.”
Since Elise was such a good girl this year, Santa also brought her some of her favorite things — makeup and a trampoline.
Elise said she would tell Santa, “Thank you for everything you brought to me for Christmas. You are a very sweet man.”