9-year-old boy gives family $20 after thieves steal Christmas decorations

9-year-old keeps Christmas spirit alive

A 9-year-old boy's kindness helped keep the Christmas spirit alive in a Southern California neighborhood. A home in Downey, just outside Los Angeles, is usually decked out with elaborate decorations this time of year, but the tradition almost ended when thieves stole some of the display.

Neighbors love the bright lights and decorations at the Jones family's home every year, CBS News correspondent Vladimir Duthiers reports. The theme for the display is "The Nightmare Before Christmas."

"It's all handmade and it's just — it's really, really, really beautiful," a neighbor said.

But when thieves made off with some of the decorations, not once, but twice, owner Nickole Jones was going to pull the plug. 

"I was really, really angry and I was surprised that somebody would do something like that at Christmas time," Jones said.

Then came a letter from 9-year-old Santiago Macias. "Dear neighbors, me and my family have a tradition of going to your house and seeing the decorations," the letter read.

"I loved the music, I loved all the decorations, I just loved everything," Macias said. He included $20 with his letter, asking his neighbors to continue the tradition. 

"Instantly, something clicked in my head and it changed my mind, and I was like, well now we have to do this even if it's just for him," Jones said.

As the lights on the Jones house went on, Santiago screamed, "Oh my God, it's so pretty!" 

The thieves were caught on camera but never identified.