I read a heart-wrenching article the other day about children's requests on Santa's knee this year. It was a sobering reflection of just how much suffering, distress, and uncertainty there is out there, and the impact that it's having on our children.
Several Santas recall visits by children who, instead of bouncing up and down with a litany of gift requests, simply whispered quietly in their ears, "I want my daddy to get his job back," or "I don't want us to lose our house." Even children making gift requests have pared their lists down to two or three items, seemingly recognizing that times are tough, and that they may not get the bounty of presents as in past years.
Children are very resilient, and they understand more than we think they do at times. Many parents have encouraged their children to be thrifty in these uncertain economic times, and that message seems to be sinking in. Santa's around the globe are being coached on how to handle questions from youngsters about unemployed parents or being evicted from their homes.
The International University for Santa Claus in California urges them to acknowledge problems, give a positive response, and then say something like "Santa loves you too. Maybe I could get you something special." Hopefully, the child leaves feeling just a little better.
The greatest gift for any child is a loving family and the security of a safe, comfortable home. If your child is blessed with these gifts, you are among the lucky ones. If not, we wish you the simple joys of this Christmas season and a more prosperous year ahead.