Move over, Santa. When it comes to the go-to list of celebrities who give and give until they run out of elve$ to help and can’t give any more, we’re well acquainted with their generosity.
Of course, we’re talking about the Angelina Jolies and Brad Pitts, the Bonos, Clooneys, and Elton Johns of Hollywood who are regularly praised for their fundraising and awareness of global causes.
This year was no different. The United Nations dream team of Angelina, Brad, Bono, George, and Elton continued to support charities and foundations that assist with diverse social issues, but there were a handful who squeezed their way down chimneys this season, seemingly showing up out of nowhere to do what they could too.
Whether it seemed out of character or was something relatively small, here are the most surprising seven…
1. George Lucas — George Lucas made headlines after news broke that Disney would acquire his company Lucasfilm and put out even more Star Wars movies to the figure of $4 billion. But instead of retiring to a remote island (or another planet altogether with that kind of money), he instead plans to put the majority of it into a charity dedicated to improving education! In a statement, Lucas says he believes education is “the key to the survival of the human race.” In order to create a “collective future,” he added that “the first step begins with social, emotional and intellectual tools we provide to our children.”
2. Charlie Sheen — Eclipsing his bad boy reputation, Charlie has a jolly side. Ths year he gave away the entirety of his $250,000 paycheck from Scary Movie 5 to various charities chosen by that film’s director, producer, and a crew member. He also gave $250,000 to the United Service Organizations, $20,000 to the man who was beaten at that much-publicized Dodger’s game, and $75,000 to a child cancer patient.
He even went so far as to give a present to a house that Santa is skipping this year--Lindsay Lohan's. Coal-worthy stocking holder Lindsay received $100,000 from St. Charlie to pay off her unpaid taxes from ‘09–’10. That makes him the ultimate Santa really because apparently he doesn’t even keep a list differentiating the “nice” from the “naughty.”
3. Zac Efron — Zac Efron tips compulsively. When it comes to giving over that 15% for service he isn’t too famous to be O.C.D. This fall, Zac Efron dined at Umami Burger with some friends when after leaving the joint rushed back after realizing his party didn’t leave a big enough tip. Sometimes correcting common decency is the best present.
4. Mel Gibson — Mel Gibson has been in a breadth of movies, but his greatest role has been as Hollywood’s resident racist/misogynist/offender of everything-ist—your neighbor who couldn’t be further from the definition of “neighborly.” It’s too bad that his nasty demeanor eclipses his nearly $7 million donations in recent years to the Church of the Holy Family in Malibu.
5. Nick Jonas — Who would’ve thought a Jonas Brother would be so dedicated to discovering a cure for diabetes? Youngest JoBro, Mr. Nick, has become the poster boy for type 1 diabetes after being diagnosed with it at 13 years old. He’s remained quietly valiant for the cause, putting on fundraiser shows and serving as the National Chair of the JDRF’s Walk to Cure Diabetes.
6. Annie Lennox — Unless she’s singing, Annie Lennox prefers to stay completely out of the spotlight. When she’s off the clock she spends most of her time quietly helping celebs like the Mother Teresa she is. Annie topped the list of most benevolent star, appearing at more than 200 nonprofit events in the past six years and lending her name to 36 charities. Sweet charity dreams are made of Annie.
7. Justin Bieber — Based off his Instagram photos you thought he was only at the gym 24/7 working on this baby abs. Wrong. He also uses social media to make quite an impact for various causes, notably that one time he motivated more than 1,200 Ontarians to register as organ and tissue donors following the request of one of his Beliebers who’s struggling with a lung transplant. Justin also donated a portion of his New York and New Jersey concert proceeds to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.