Your Kids Are Bumming Out The Mall Santa

The Wall Street Journal says that this year, mall Santas are spending their breaks looking bleakly at the wall and salting their mugs of bourbon with bitter tears. Why? Because your kids keep sitting on their laps and acting like characters from a Loretta Lynn song. One Santa used to joke that bad kids would get socks, but no more:

This year, he stopped telling the joke. Too many children were asking for socks. “They’ve probably heard their parents say, ‘Geez, I wish I had some money to get them clothes,’” says Mr. Riemersma, 56 years old.

According to the article, the annual pile of letters to the North Pole are also a good way to see what parents are worried about–last year a lot of the letters were of the “help us keep our house” variety, while this year they’re about finding jobs in 2010. That’s also happening to the Santas, apparently: one little girl in the article asked a Columbus, Ohio Santa to turn her dad into an elf, so he could find work at the North Pole.

A Santa-training school in LA says they teach their Santas to expect the inadvertently sad Christmas wish, and to quietly refer the parents to local charities that might be able to help.

“For America’s Santas, It’s Hard to Be Jolly With the Tales They’re Hearing” [Wall Street Journal]

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  1. humphrmi says:

    This story may pull at your heart-strings, but I can’t help but think of a generation of depression-era kids who probably were telling Santa in the 1930′s that they wanted socks and warm jackets for Christmas. Most of that generation grew up appreciating the little things in life, not always looking for the cool gadget, and knowing that everything wasn’t always about them.

    Maybe the latest generation of “The Great Recession” will grow up that way too.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      One way, I agree with you… children should learn early to appreciate the little things in life.

      But another part of me, (who has 4 children) screams to let them be kids, teach them that although presents are nice, your family is what makes the holiday. Teach them young the importance of sitting down and eating a few dinners a week together, but never wish for them to go hungry. Show them how to take care of their clothes and donate them when they don’t fit, but never wish for them to not have shoes.

      I don’t shield my kids from the truth… but just that little part of me, wants them to remain innocent for that much longer before they realize how hard life really is. :(

      • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

        I hear you. I want my kids to enjoy the sweet innocent freedom of childhood, but I also want them to grow into caring individuals who are not only grateful what they have, but willing to share it with others, as well. I don’t want to shield them from seeing how hard life is, but I do want them to have the courage to face it and get through it. Time will tell how successful I am at all of this, LOL.

        On the poor story front: both of my parents grew up just outside of beautiful Waikiki Beach. They could see the hotels, the tourists in their snazzy duds, the restaurants, the “hula” girls paid to entertain, but they never got to enjoy such luxury themselves (post-WWII wasn’t a great time for many native Hawaiians, who suffered through deep poverty as best they could). My mom’s favorite story was about her and her sister each having only one dress to wear to school, so they’d switch off from day to day so that neither would have to wear the same dress over and over and over again. She’d pass that family story along every time we had to go out school shopping. And yes, she did give me socks and underwear every Christmas…which I’m now happily doing with my own tribe of five.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      WISH I COULD DELETE MY FIRST ONE….. For some reason, in the middle of writing my response, it started sending it in… so I’ll try this again, Take TWO:

      One way, I agree with you… children should learn early to appreciate the little things in life more so than presents.

      But another part of me, (who has 4 children) screams to let them be kids! Presents, Christmas music, family all together and happy. Teach them young the importance of sitting down and eating a few dinners a week together, but never wish for them to go hungry. Show them how to take care of their clothes and donate them when they don’t fit, but never wish for them to not have shoes. The children asking Santa to save their house, for jobs, or clothes… I can’t imagine being 7 years old with those kind of worries.

      I don’t shield my kids from the truth… but just that little part of me, wants them to remain innocent for that much longer before they realize how hard life really is. :(

      • Naame says:

        I very much agree with you. I also think there are good ways to blend the two sides together in a positive way. I am waiting for my child to get a bit older, but when he is ready I plan to take him with me during holidays to volunteer some time helping out feeding the hungry. I hope that doing that will help him appreciate the idea of aiding the community while also teaching him to appreciate the little things and to understand that not everyone is fortunate.

        • allthatsevil says:

          Not trying to make an argument or anything, I like your idea. Just wanted to point out that you don’t have to wait until the holidays to do that. I think it would teach your child a better lesson to know that you can help others all year, not just the holidays when it’s expected to be charitable.

    • ngoandy says:

      Another generation of people taking all the condiments and such from tables at restaurants?

      • Chinchillazilla says:

        Another generation of grandparents who, when they go to the bookstore with their granddaughters, not only don’t buy them lunch, but make the kids buy THEM lunch.

        Or is that just my grandpa?

    • colorisnteverything says:

      Is this why my grandmother to this DAY still insists that underwear is an appropriate present. For my 16th birthday, she suggested a training bra. Now, at 22, I have assured her she need not bring me ANYTHING but a heartfelt card. It is very odd to get underwear – especially 2 sizes way to big in granny style

    • Red Cat Linux says:

      My mother likes to remind me of a story of her early childhood where she was visiting a friend’s house at Christmas. The friend was a bit better off than she was, or at least they liked to present the image that they were.

      A bowl of oranges was passed around the room, and she said as much as she wanted one, she knew better than to take one – citrus was very expensive and hard come by at the time, in the location where they were.

      I guess one image conscious family meets another: you don’t want to gleefully grab an orange and let the neighbors know it’s been years since you’ve had one.

      And yes – she tortured my childhood with the belief that when I went to a friend’s house for a birthday party, socks were a welcome and appropriate gift. Lord help me.

    • Naame says:

      Yes, it really is the little things that show how you grew up some times. I believe it was my grandfather who used to use a little water on his cereal before adding milk because that was a trick they used back during the Great Depression when milk was really expensive. According to my mother, he never stopped doing that even after the jobs returned and the price of milk went down.

  2. DH405 says:

    My sister was helping with one of those miracle tree things. The card she got had a kid who wanted a blue t-shirt. One plain blue t-shirt.

    He got a hell of a lot more than that, though.

    • formatc says:

      I did something similar when I was about 5. Based on my family’s accounts as well as my own memories, during Thanksgiving, my grandmother asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I shrugged my shoulders and said, “I dunno.”
      She tried to coax me by asking, “How about a nice pair of salt and pepper shakers?” expecting me to respond with something I wanted.
      My eyes lit up and I exclaimed “Yes!” I ran to tell my parents what I was getting for Christmas. I was so excited about the gift she suggested.
      As the holiday approached, my grandmother called my parents to make sure I still wanted them. I spent the while month not looking forward to a toy or gadget, but a pair of salt and pepper shakers. When Christmas came, sure enough, she gave me what I wanted. I got a pair of shakers shaped like Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
      I don’t remember asking for them, but I certainly remember unwrapping them. I was as excited as if it was a big toy. I still have them to this day.

      • cybrczch says:

        LOL fortmac, you sound like my nephew. One year my mom asked him what he wanted for Christmas, and all he would say was ‘a box of rocks’. So my mom went out and scoured the gravel roads and railroad tracks here, picking up any interesting looking rock, and put them in an old oatmeal container, wrapped it up, and set it next to the gift she bought for him. To this day, neither he, my mom, or me can remember what she bought him, but we all remember how happy he was when he opened up his ‘box of rocks’, showing them off and playing with them in the living room.

    • whytcolr says:

      Those miracle trees are a great idea. My wife’s former company did something like that and both she and I would each take a child (or two). One year, there was a kid who wanted a notebook and a trapper keeper. That’s it. Let me tell you, if a kid’s Christmas wish is to get school supplies, and I’m playing Santa, he’s getting anything and everything he (or she) might need for school.

      I think he might have been set for a few years of school supplies after that Christmas. :)

      • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

        Kids are so awesome sometimes…I recently took our three girls to a birthday party for one of their classmates. The birthday girl asked not for presents for herself, but for presents for the child she was adopting from our local Angel Tree (it was the birthday girl’s idea, BTW, not something encouraged or forced by her mom). She wanted to be sure she would have nice items to give her adoptee, so everyone brought either nice, new toys or a gift card, so the birthday girl could have the fun of picking out the gifts that the little girl would get.

        The birthday girl came to our daughter’s party this past weekend; her mom made sure to come up and say thanks again for the gift card that we’d given her daughter. She then said, “She had such a good time picking things out – she kept saying, “oh, she’ll LOVE this one!” as she put her stuff in the cart.” The birthday girl was able to give her adoptee an awesome Christmas this year, all because of her generous request and by giving up her own birthday gifts. My kids and I were quite impressed, and are following the birthday girl’s good example.

      • whiskykitten says:

        I’m having a damn hard time finding Angel or Wishing Trees at any of my local malls this year. Participating has always been the highpoint of the holiday season for me.

    • TheTick says:

      We had a similar situation this year with the two angel tree kids we had this year…both kids had a list of things they liked, but both lists featured winter coats and boots. Both kids got a nice coat along with a toy.

  3. Blue387 says:

    Jeez, this story was a downer.

  4. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I read this during the afternoon and started sniffling in my cubicle. It’s very sad. And it doesn’t matter that Depression-era kids went through this and worse – that’s not the point. The point is that kids are going through it now, and it’s important to not blame the kids (which is practically blaming the OP) and say, “well, some people have it a ton worse so suck it up, and continue being miserable because your parents don’t have jobs.” They’re children. Their parents are their heroes; their protectors. If they can’t help – who can? It’s okay for kids to believe just a little more in Santa. And it’s important that grinches this year don’t destroy that.

    Just be kind, and just help in some way. I’m donating to Toys for Tots and some other places. It might be easy to go “just be thankful you can eat,” but I bet some people were doing the same thing to the Depression-era kids. And I bet there were parents who were trying to scrounge together some toys and some clothes for their kids back then too.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      100%… I’ve donated food to the local pantries, toys for tots, and our small school district even has a program where people can anonymously let them know which families MIGHT be in trouble around the holiday, and they sneak presents/food to them. It’s a wonderful program, and you never know who nominated you and your family, and you never know who leaves the stuff…. but you have it, and that’s all that matters. They also have the open town Christmas as well, where your kids can choose a toy, see Santa…. :)

      I agree… I don’t want any child who still believes in Santa to have those worries. I want my kids, just to be kids… even if it’s only another year longer.

  5. diasdiem says:

    If one of the little girls writes about how she has to work selling matches, send help immediately.

  6. Slave For Turtles says:

    What I also find sad is the toys-for-tots collection box near me is almost empty. Just… wow. If you can, please donate. Even a little stuffed animal or toy car will brighten a family’s life.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Not only does it not have to be large or expensive, it doesn’t literally have to be a toy from what I understand. I picked a tag for a 15 – 18 year old female and got an easel set (it came with paper and different kinds of pencils, pens, and markers for drawing and a small human figure). They had a bunch of different kinds of drawing and painting sets, some for under $10.

  7. ConsumerWolf says:

    It’s funny how Americans can get all teary-eyed about kids getting socks for Christmas when there are plenty of places in the world where a child is lucky if she gets a meal tomorrow.

    • Caged Wisdom says:

      Compassion is not rationed, just because you feel for one group doesn’t mean you have to ignore all others. Americans, including myself, have enough compassion in their hearts to feel bad for both the hungry kids of the world and the kids here who don’t have socks or footwear when we’re entering the winter season.

      • ConsumerWolf says:

        Compassion for the poor American kids who won’t receive the latest piece of useless plastic crap from China is compassion wasted.

        • Rectilinear Propagation says:

          How’d you get from socks and shoes to useless plastic crap?

          • katia802 says:

            Because people are always willing to feed trolls. Always so easy to scream what about thus and so who needs your help so much more than the people you are helping. Too bad the energy wasted that way isn’t focused on actually helping instead of guilt tripping other people.

    • Caged Wisdom says:

      A child who is in need of socks probably isn’t getting enough to eat every day either. Especially when we’re entering the holiday season and these American kids aren’t going to have free school meals (those who qualify) to help make sure they’re fed. I live in the midwest, and churches around here use your same sort of guilt trip to convince their members to give money for missionary trips to other countries while ignoring their local food pantry.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        To be fair, I have given plenty of time and resources to church groups who send food and supplies overseas. Not necessarily at the expense of locals either. It can be a matter of balancing your desire to help. This year it’s toys for tots and military and hospitals. Next year it might be different. There’s no problem in giving help where it is needed, whether locally or worldwide. There should not be an issue of helping one over the other. Help both in whatever quantities you desire.

    • Keavy_Rain says:

      We can’t take care of everyone, but I don’t see why we should worry about those in other countries when we have people in need here.

      Once we get the poor at home taken care of we’ll work on the poor in other nations.

      • TechnoDestructo says:

        So we should never worry about the poor overseas, then.

        • oblivious87 says:

          I think you’re missing the point. AnthonyC made a good point about this.

          I live in Milwaukee right now and have been doing work with shelters since I’ve been young. We’re in single digits right now and there are children sleeping out on the streets right now with little protection to the elements and who hasn’t eaten in days. Maybe the rate isn’t as high here as it is other places in the world, but personally, I’m more concerned about the kids in my backyard before the kid across the planet.

          I’m going out and donating food to a local pantry and I browse the wishlists for kids whenever I’m out. Personally, I’d rather see my community cleaned up and healthy before I start worrying about another part of the world. If its so inexpensive to feed 10 children in Africa, why aren’t the millionaires in those countries being so damn greedy? They not only lack compassion, but a sense of community which is truly sad.

      • AnthonyC says:

        And I don’t see why a child in another state, or even the town where I live, deserves my help more than a child halfway around the world, with whom I am equally unaquianted, and whose hardships are far worse.

        I agree, compassion is infinitely expandable. But the resources available to me to do something about it are not. If I can give a good christmas to one child a hundred miles away, or food for a month to a child ten thousand miles away, which should I choose? It is a personal choice with many implications either way, but one we should all consider carefully. Who are we, individually and as a society?

    • Naame says:

      You are completely missing the point. It has nothing to do with the kids getting socks for Christmas instead of toys. It has everything to do with all of us knowing how things used to be before the financial collapse. We remember sitting on Santa’s lap just like our kids are doing today and it being a very magical experience. We want our kids to have that same experience, but due to the current situation which is completely not their fault it is being robbed from them.

    • tonberryqueen says:

      Compassion isn’t a finite resource.

      I volunteer at and donate to a women’s shelter in my city. I also sponsor a woman in Rwanda in a program where she is learning job skills to make a better living. I think they’re both pretty deserving, but I don’t think it would be wrong if I had initially chosen to do one rather than the other.

      Poverty and pain exist everywhere. I don’t see why alleviating it should be cause for a guilt trip.

      I would happily give an American child socks at Christmas. I see a lot of kids in that situation at the shelter. Their mothers can barely afford an apartment, so they have to come to us for meals and clothes, and, yes, even Christmas gifts.

      If people are willing to give, why piss on that?

    • Sugarless says:

      Wow.
      That’s all I can say to you is wow.

  8. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    It comes down to this: If you are going to complain about how other people have been suffering longer or harder and that compared to that these kids who had the “good life” last year should just “deal with it” – and you are one of those people who asked Santa for socks years ago, and you remember your mom crying because she knew you might not even get socks or a new shirt… You take that memory and ask yourself why on earth you would want some other 8 year old to go through that. If you aren’t apalled at how absolutely miserable it is to wish such misfortune upon a child you should be ashamed. Being poor is not a badge of pride. It’s getting out of it with determination and hard work that should be a badge of pride.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Very well said. I’d heart you for that but I don’t know how on this new site.

      • Chris Walters says:

        Click on the commenter’s name so you can go to his/her page. You’ll find a big square FOLLOW MEMBER button in the same style as the preview/submit/reply buttons on this page.

        • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

          True Chris, but it doesn’t have the same je ne sais quoi as the little clicky-heart. I’m still whining about my missing star, too. :D

    • RogerTheAlien says:

      I whole-heartedly agree that the reasoning of “I went through it” or “other people have it worse” is by no means a justification for why someone ELSE should have to endure hardship.

      HOWEVER…I think the tendency to turn every holiday/special occasion into a some sort of consumer orgy where it’s all about me, Me, ME has finally caught up with us. It sucks that today’s kids have will have to be the ones that learn that lesson, but perhaps the older generations should take a hard look at it and say, “What did WE do to the younger generation that NOT getting a new high-tech, expensive gadget is all of a sudden creating the worst Christmas ever?” Since when has Christmas really been about the presents? It shouldn’t be.

      And yes, this is anecdotal, so let the flaming commense, but when I was a wee alien, my family said, “We’re doing one present per person from now on. Christmas is about togetherness, not buying things for people.” And that’s what we did. And while I WAS older (early teens) and didn’t believe in Santa anymore, the idea caught and has served my family well. I don’t see why that can’t be applied to younger children as well.

      Bart Simpson summed up the American attitude towards Christmas quite well: “Christmas is a time of year when people of ALL religions can come together to celebrate the birth of Santa.” It’s funny, but it’s true. And it’s sad-but-true. This is how a lot of people view Christmas. And it’s wrong.

      • Naame says:

        It isn’t terribly difficult to teach your kids to value the togetherness aspect of Christmas and also enjoy the gifts or the “santa” aspect all while not getting caught up in the consumer whore part of Christmas.

        I see what you are saying and all, but I question whether or not you are generalizing the masses too much.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      I certainly love the look on my childrens faces when they open their presents… and I never spend a lot, but I take a lot of care to pick out things that they wanted. Almost every holiday has been commercialized, which is unfortunate, but not everyone spends a lot. I wouldn’t miss it for the world… I see why my parents worked so hard around the holidays when we were little. It’s awe inspiring to see their faces… it really it. Such innocence.

      This year, my children are making homemade xmas ornaments for their grandparents- they will LOVE them. They are from the heart. If people feel Xmas has become to commercialized, what about homemade presents? We are a fudge making factory in December! The kids love to bake with me, it’s always a family project… if that’s not making a holiday great, I don’t know what is.

    • pinkbunnyslippers says:

      I’m not sure anyone here is telling the children they need to “suck it up” because other people have it worse – not sure I see that anywhere – but there is something to be said for people who’ve lost their sense of perspective…

      I suppose that if your child complained about something he didn’t like for dinner, you wouldn’t bust out with the “some children don’t even have food to eat” line? Or when he complains about how all his friends have a Wii and he’s still stuck with a PlayStation that you wouldn’t counter with “Well when *I* was your age, I had to play with 2 tin cans and a string.”?

      If not, then kudos to you. But honestly, there ARE people who have it worse. It’s never too early to teach your children a sense of gratitude for what they do receive, as well as a sense of understanding that not everyone in this world is as fortunate.

  9. AuntieMaim says:

    My family has started doing what I think is a great way to help out at the holidays: instead of buying a bunch of crap for each other, when we all have enough stuff, we do a secret-Santa-like exchange where each couple buys a gift for one other couple (and anyone under 18, if we choose, which currently is just my nephew — but my sister asks that that is limited to one item). The rest of what we would have spent goes to an adopt-a-family Christmas for a needy family through a local rescue mission — we and my brother-in-law’s family get clothing items and a gifts for each member of the “adopted” family, along with food for their Christmas dinner. I would encourage everyone to give it a try — we have all been really happy with the arrangement.

  10. saltyoak says:

    So things are better now that wall street has been saved, and our pres bows to dictators. Buck up Santa next year you might be just a memory (all sarcasm people)

    We have to help ourselves and each other, socailism does’nt getr done.

    Love AuntieMame’s answer

    • Daemon Xar says:

      Yay for random political rants that have nothing to do with the original article, and are based on Fox News talking points!

      Socialism? Really?

  11. justsomeotherguy says:

    heh… in other countries they might ask to not be raped while trying to get water for the adults in the village. They might ask that their parents not be stoned to death for illogical religious bullshit. The might ask that a rocket fire might not kill their baby brother this year. They might ask that their eyes evolve into an organ that can eat the flies that keep landing on them. They might ask santa for a cure for aids. Or how about maybe the militia doesnt come by after the next natural disaster and machete the people with the black side on the right side of the face? Or that they arent bitten by the bazillion insects that SOCKS??? . I remember in during reganomics kids asked for jobs for their parents. Heh, first world problems… I’ve known families that WAY over extend themselves on christmas. That song with “and 6 months of bills!” wasnt kidding. These people spoil their kids rotten with toys that end up broken and forgotten or just unplayed with.

    Pulling your heart strings because kids are asking for socks? Man, you must be a complete wreck when you think about the iraqi kid who just wants to go to skewl without some religious nut cutting off his head.

    • Slave For Turtles says:

      Wow. So what? Seriously.

      If my kid wants help with her math homework, what if I spurn her request so that I can travel to the next town and help some other kid with his math because his skills are worse. Of if I don’t buy my own child another box of tissues for the flu and instead go to Africa and help distribute mosquito nets to help fight malaria. That would be pretty *lame*. It is completely natural that we care for those around us FIRST over those farther away, even if their lives are worse. Our families, our friends, our neighbors, our social/religious groups, our communities — if we do not help those closest to us first, then we are abdicating our responsibilities as parents, children, friends, neighbors, etc etc. Those relationships come first for the vast majority of people. Think globally. Act locally.

      • justsomeotherguy says:

        My statement wasnt about helping/not helping anyone. It was about thinking that the QQing of people who think kids asking for socks is depressing is trite, petty, self important, etc… I agree… act locally… TEACH YOUR KIDS NOT TO BE CONSUMER WHORES by NOT going into DEBT for christmas and making sure they are thankful they dont live in third world countries where they have to make shoes between rapings. “I WANT ULTRAMEGA HAMSTER DELUXE POKEMON VERSION!!!” and 50 other toys… FORGET MY EDUCATION, GO INTO DEBT FOR TOYS!!!

        Christmas isnt about jesus, or good will towards man, or any of that stuff. It’s about presents. Its a a consumer whore holiday that is about keeping up with the jones and spoiling people. It encourages financial irresponsibility. I’d much rather have the old english version of christmas that was banned.

        On another notes… Adult males almost ALWAYS get the biggest shaft on christmas. They spend afew grand on stuff for the kids… in return they get a piece of drift wood with some eyes glue onto it…

        (I like turtles too! I turned an art crate into a turtle pond in my living room :))

        • Slave For Turtles says:

          :) Thanks for explaining. I understand what you mean now. Sorry for getting hot there. Peace.

          Your turtle better not let my turtle know about his flashy pad. My turtle really is all about consumerism, but he’s stuck with bricks in his tank just the same. They make a nice basking spot and also form a cool cave. I know he’d rather have his dilapidated viquarium back, but you can’t find them new, and the used ones are going for a mint. The bricks give him a lot more room to swim, too, and hold the heat from the lamp very well.

        • Daemon Xar says:

          I’m not sure that thinking that kids ought to have at least one thing they want, and not just socks, is such a bad thing. They’re kids. They should get to be kids.

          I’d be the first to say that we live in a country that has over-commercialized Christmas, but it’s not just about stuff (at least not for me). It’s about family, and generousity, and helping each other out. These things are not incompatible with thinking that kids should get to be kids, and that they should not be punished for the poor behavior of adults who destroyed our economy.

    • slappysquirrel says:

      ((((Man, you must be a complete wreck when you think about the iraqi kid who just wants to go to skewl without some religious nut cutting off his head.)))

      I am.

      • justsomeotherguy says:

        me too, which is why I have a hard time feeling all that bad for the kid asking for socks for christmas.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      I like how complaints about not being able to order FIOS or getting an e-book deleted from your Kindle are fine but a kid asking for socks is a consumer whore.

  12. Manok says:

    It’s easy to discuss other problems in the world, but this article is about dealing with problems in the US. Of course we would like to help poor kids half a world away, but how realistic is that? I have my family to worry about too. If I don’t take care of them who will?

  13. slappysquirrel says:

    A couple of years ago, I didn’t know what to buy for my friend’s six-year-old. So I went to one of those gift trees to see what a six-year-old boy was asking for. A coat. Shoes. He got his coat and he got shoes and he got a few toys too.

    After that, my friend’s six-year-old was easy.

  14. Outrun1986 says:

    I do have sympathy for children who are truly needy and really do need a coat, shoes, socks however some of these organizations I think are considering families needy when they really are not. Case in point I ran into a woman last year in a store who was buying for a needy family and on the list were Nintendo DS games and MP3 players. Both of us were scowling. Now I don’t know what organization this was from but I don’t exactly call that needy. Food or clothes was obviously not the first priority. What this tells me is that the kid already has a Nintendo DS (if he is asking for games) and a computer (you need one to use a MP3 player) so they must not be that bad off, if they were that bad off they would have to sell those things to get food.

    When I buy toys for toys for tots I assume that the family is truly needy and probably can’t use anything electronic that hooks up to a TV or anything that takes batteries because batteries are very expensive. I try to buy stuff that doesn’t involve maintenance, or additional costs and includes everything needed in the package. I wouldn’t consider having a TV a bad thing and its very possible to have a needy family who has a TV as you can get a TV for around $5-10 these days but a Nintendo DS is definitely a luxury item and if your family is starving and is truly needy then you should probably consider selling your kids DS to get money for food so you can feed your kids.

    I am sure kids would love to get electronic toys for Xmas but when the batteries die in a week or 2 and the parents cannot afford more batteries or they don’t have the resources to use the present its not any fun.

  15. axiomatic says:

    Here’s an idea.

    Corporate CEO’s MUST be mall Santa Claus for 1 week a year to receive their fat bonuses.

    • drrictus says:

      It won’t make a difference. They’re not programmed to feel, they’re not programmed to empathize. They’re programmed to return value to shareholders…. (Terminator reference) “And they won’t ever stop!!”.

  16. Skipweasel says:

    Kids don’t have to pay for library cards and glasses, do they? That’s just silly.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Why wouldn’t they have to pay for glasses? I know the Lion’s Club will give people glasses but the kids don’t know that. They only know that they don’t have any because their parents can’t afford them.

      As for the library card, that request could be coming from kids who’s family lost their house and no longer have anything to prove residency with which you need in order to get a library card.

  17. XISMZERO says:

    “A Santa-training school in LA…”

    They have Santa “training schools?!” LOLz!