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DENVER — For a lot of kids, ripping into the wrapping paper is the best part of Christmas. But a group of local kids are learning Christmas is also about giving to others.

“I’ve never met this girl but we’re going to go give her some presents,” said Leo Hoffman.

Leo isn’t even five years old yet but he already knows the meaning of Christmas.

“My son wanted to give presents to other kids,” said his mother, Kelsey Hoffman. “He initiated this and I thought, ‘That’s a great idea.’”

They heard about the program, “Santa’s Elves – Kids Giving to Kids.” It’s in its third year of letting kids hand-deliver gifts to children in one of Denver’s poorest neighborhoods.

“There are 350 kids that we adopted that represent about 121 families,” said organizer Jennifer Engerman. “My guess is we had about 1,500 gifts that we gave away today.”

Many kids look forward to this day even more than they do their own Christmas.

“We let the kids pick out the presents and last night we sat around the fire and wrapped them together and the kids were able to write cards to the kids they’re giving gifts to,” said Lawrence Montgomery. “They get an understanding of how to give back and how to help. That there are others less fortunate than they are and that it’s fun to actually help them out and see smiles.”

You can learn more about the program at