Strangers have stepped in to help an Ohio family whose Christmas decorations were stolen from their yard.

The Grinch — better known as thieves — may have stolen her decorations, but the kindness of strangers has restored the Christmas spirit to a Canton woman whose decorations were ripped from her front yard roughly a week ago.

Christina Auvil’s home had been decorated for the holiday, with an inflatable nativity scene that stood 7 feet tall. It was secured so well she figured she wouldn’t be able to remove it “until Easter.”

It took thieves less than a day to steal her decorations.

After reading an account in The Repository of Auvil’s plight, a man from Perry Township contacted the newspaper, who put him in touch with Auvil.

He wanted to donate a nativity set to her.

“I was so happy,” Auvil said Friday. “My kids were so excited. He said, ‘I have a plastic, light-up nativity set. There’s no wise men, but the three main characters are there.’

“He also brought the nutcrackers, but instead of ugly faces, they have the cute Teddy bear faces.”

The man never revealed his last name, although Auvil said they talked in the cold for an hour outside her home.

“All he told me was his name was Mike,” she said.

The single mother who works two jobs said her young sons watched from the window, knocking on the glass and begging to plug in the nativity scene lights.

Auvil is grateful to Mike and to two other good Samaritans -- a boy and his grandmother -- who donated sets of icicle lights and other colored lights to use on the porch.

Auvil said someone stole her original decorations last Sunday, a day after she and one of her two sons had put them up. The lights that adorned her porch railing also were stolen.

“I’ve lived here 14 years, and nothing like this has ever happened,” she said, noting she decorates for each holiday. “I was just shocked. I think I was more hurt than angry at first.”

She thinks the thief may have believed there was copper wire in the blower on the inflatable piece.

“For heaven sakes, come on, you know? Things are tough for everybody. You don’t need to go and steal things from people,” she said.

Now that she has replacements, Auvil said her decorations are staying on the porch instead of in the yard.

“I thought about bringing them in at night,” she said. But she changed her mind.

“I was extremely worried about putting decorations back up,” she said. “But just because somebody decides to put a damper on things, you can’t let them win. So we’re going to just modify things and move them up a little bit. I’m still going to put my things out.”

The Repository