Family focuses on real meaning of Christmas with random acts of kindness

WATCH ABOVE: A Pierrefonds family is making it a point to give back this holiday season by teaching their kids the real meaning of Christmas. Global’s Ines de la Cuetara has the heartwarming story.

MONTREAL – Montrealers parked outside the Children’s Hospital got a little surprise on their windshields Sunday morning; not a ticket, but a candy cane.

The candy came with a quote from Dr. Seuss’ ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’.

“Christmas doesn’t come from a store, Christmas perhaps means a little bit more,” read the cards attached to each sugary treat.

“I wonder who are these people,” said Amy Levesque, who found the candy cane when she got back to her mother’s car.

Earlier in the morning, five-year-old Kyle and two-year-old Lucas had played the role of Santa’s helpers, placing a candy cane on each car parked near the Children’s Hospital. This year, the Merrick family is on a mission to give back.

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“We wanted to do something a little more meaningful for Christmas,” said Kristy Westlake, Kyle and Lucas’ mother.

“We wanted to move away from Santa and presents, and all the craziness that Christmas has become,” she added.

The family is planning random acts of kindness throughout the month. Kyle and Lucas have already sent some of their stuffed animals to children in Haiti, and in a couple days, the boys will be bringing their local policemen freshly baked cookies. Kyle’s been practising how to say ‘thanks for keeping us safe’ for a week now.

On Sunday, all bundled up in their ski suits, Kyle and Lucas spread Christmas cheer at the Children’s Hospital. It’s an especially significant location for the family. When he was just six-and-a-half-months-old, Lucas caught a bad cold while the family was on vacation in Mexico. Along with the cold came a fever, which never went away. The family has been to see countless doctors at the hospital to try and figure out the cause, but to this day, they still don’t know why Lucas gets the daily fevers.

“We had to stare down some pretty serious potential illnesses when dealing with this, like leukaemia and autoimmune disorders; and when your child is only seven or eight-months-old and these are the things that are put on the table, it’s terrifying,” said Westlake.

The family hopes the candy canes put a smile on the faces of families going through similar situations.

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“I can see the magic of Christmas because when parents are here with [sick] kids, after that Christmas is…different,” said Mare-Josee Gadoury, “so when he gives that I know what they mean because my kid is here. So it’s the same feeling for us. Christmas is being [with] family.”

READ MORE: Random acts of Christmas kindness

By the end of the morning, Kyle seemed to think the candy cane mission was complete.

“I’m happy,” he said, “because we were doing something special.”

Westlake says kids are never too young to be taught kindness.

“Everyday Kyle asks, ‘can we go and give something to someone, can we go and do something?’ In his way, that’s showing me that he’s getting it,” she said.

“Leaving the hospital, it’s a very moving gesture,” said Amy’s mother. “So thank you, Kyle, Lucas, Hans, and Kristy.”

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