As much as we may try to shield our kids from our financial worries, they know what’s going on. And this time of year, as cash-strapped parents struggle to provide the basic necessities for their families, kids are looking to Santa for help. Reports from Santa’s lap indicate that instead of iPods and laptop computers, worried children are asking for eye glasses and socks. And jobs for their unemployed parents.
As young children pour their hearts out to Santas across the country, these part-time Kris Kringles struggle with how to respond. Many Santas are coached on how to encourage kids without making any promises and others try to point their parents toward organizations that can help.
But sometimes, there’s just nothing to be said that will make things better. One Santa recounts the story of a child who asked if he could turn her daddy into an elf. When Santa asked why, the child’s heartbreaking response left him speechless: “Because my daddy’s out of work, and we’re about to lose our house,” she said.
Despite promises from Santa that things will get better, many kids will find their stockings empty this Christmas. If you haven’t yet done so and have a little extra room in your own budget, perhaps you could play Santa for a struggling family. Ask around at church or in your own neighborhood to see if there’s a family near you who needs a little help. Local fire and police departments often sponsor toy drives for underprivileged children and The Salvation Army can always use your donation this time of year.
Photo: Per Ola Wiberg/Flickr