Give to the Needy This Christmas

High unemployment numbers change Christmas wish lists this year.

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I’m going to write nonpolitically this week as it’s Christmas on Saturday. And I won’t get into who and what is the reason for the season, but…

I heard on the radio about a bunch of letters marked “To Santa c/o The North Pole.” Specifically about a group called “Operation Letters to Santa.” This is a post office in New York, where people can stop by, read the letters to Santa and decide which letters they want to respond to and, by answering the childrens' requests of Santa--the Christmas wish lists--which children they want to help. Normally kids write things like “Dear Santa, for Christmas I’d love a new bike and an Xbox….” This year it was different. There were more letters such as “Dear Santa, for Christmas my daddy really needs a job," or "my mom needs a blanket to keep her warm--she gets so cold after her chemo treatments" or "my brother needs a new pair of shoes" ... you get the picture. The bad economy is affecting our children. The letters once read by people wanting to help these children stopping by Operation Letters to Santa no longer fill the room with laughter; but rather, with tears. When I heard about this organization and the requests the children made of Santa this year, I wept. I felt so blessed to have so much. I have a roof over my head, two healthy children, a job, food, the list goes on.

[Read more about unemployment and the economy.]

When I was little girl, my parents used to make me pick out one of my favorite toys, one I wouldn’t want to part with. I would then go with my parents to an orphanage and give that toy to a child who wouldn’t have the type of Christmas I would enjoy. I will never forget one girl when I told her about a doll I wanted telling me “all I want for Christmas is a mommy and daddy….”

Maybe it’s because I’m an adoptive parent, maybe it’s because of those values my parents instilled in me--to give and to give something I truly care about. But the next night I felt physically ill when I was channel surfing and I fell upon the late night rerun of Oprah. Now I admire all Oprah has accomplished in her career as a woman, an African American, a broadcaster and, of course, all she has done with her money. But I was sickened by the audience’s reaction to the fact that they were about to receive cameras, designer shoes and handbags, diamond watches. They were crying, dancing, praising God with their hands raised in the air like this was some sort of revival.

Forgive me for sounding judgmental but hey, this is my blog, right? I hear the American people cry out day in and day out about the bad economy, how tough times are, how many people are losing their homes, how many want jobs or at least their unemployment benefits extended. And then I turn on the television and watch this display of, dare I say, greed?!? I find it hard to get a parking space outside of Best Buy or Target and I know Amazon ran out of the $149 a pop kindle that everyone just must have this year. [Read the U.S. News debate: Are the holidays too secular?]

So I appeal to you this holiday season America; please do not whine about not having a job and then spend $150 on a Christmas gift. If you have, help the have-nots. And if you don’t, write a letter to Santa. And maybe, just maybe, someone will buy your mom a blanket to be wrapped in after her cancer treatment, or shoes for your sibling. Heck, maybe they can even buy you a kindle, or at least produce more of them and create jobs in the process. Come to think of it, skip Santa--write the letter to the top 2 percent of Americans who will be even wealthier these next two years.

  • See the year in cartoons: 2010
  • Read about unemployment.
  • See photos of the Obamas behind the scenes.