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Secret Santa Update: The young father of 7 whose wife unexpectedly died after collapsing in their garage

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For the past five years, we’ve been able to help surprise deserving people eastern Idaho with gifts from an anonymous Secret Santa.

Many times we’re asked for updates on the recipients so every Thursday, from now until Christmas, we’ll be posting an interview with someone who received a Secret Santa gift in the past.

In 2018, we surprised Dakota Nelson as he was leaving work as an LDS seminary teacher in Ashton. Dakota’s wife of 17 years had unexpectedly died months earlier, leaving him to care for seven children on his own.

After giving Dakota his gift, he and his children sent a touching letter to Secret Santa. Dakota’s story spread throughout the world and the surprise video has been viewed over 2.5 million times.

We caught up with Dakota for a follow-up interview on how his life has changed over the past two years.

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