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Andre Johnson treats kids to annual Christmas shopping spree

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HOUSTON – The holiday season has arrived and a familiar face was out spreading holiday cheer Wednesday morning.

Houston Texans great Andre Johnson may be retired, but his priorities have not wavered.

Johnson loves Houston. He loves giving back to kids, and that tradition continued Wednesday morning.

"This time of year, it’s something you can’t beat,” Johnson told KPRC-Channel 2 Sports. “The kids come out and really have a great time.”

The doors opened early at the Toys "R" Us on Old Spanish Trail.

Front and center was the man who proudly wore No. 80 with the Texans.

Johnson was holding his annual Holiday Shopping Spree for a ninth consecutive year.

Twelve kids -- ages 8 to 16 -- all from Harris County’s Department of Family Protective Services, had 80 seconds to fill their baskets with toys and games of their choosing.

The best part of the entire morning?

Johnson picked up the tab.

One little girl, named Ebony, was all smiles after her trip down the aisles.

“I got a bear and pony and some puzzles,” she said afterwards.

Her grandmother was equally as appreciative.

"That was a blessing for the kids to get what they wanted,” she said.

This year, the final tally was a whopping total of $19,144.58. The kids were on cloud nine, and for Johnson it was well worth it.

“Not only think about themselves, but their siblings,” said Johnson. “It’s great and every year the kids have done that.”

Ashley Cox was there to support Johnson's event.

“They’ll never forget this day,” Cox said, as she became emotional. “It’s so surreal. Thank you so much.”

Johnson added after the event that he enjoys the shopping spree every holiday season and he plans to continue hosting it in the years to come.