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December 16, 2021

Recovery? Kids ask Santa for coats and boots, not toys, this year

Heartbreak is the 2:50 mark of this Lion King  clip. Heartbreak is being a Dallas Cowboys fan. And heartbreak, certainly, is this.

1248991_ As the year comes to a close and 2011’s economic forecasts heat up – RBC, for one, predicts much faster economic growth next year – anyone searching for proof the world still ain’t right should look no further.

According to USA Today, kids aren’t writing Santa for fancy toys this year, they’re asking for basic needs, such as coats, socks and shoes.

“The need is greater this year than I’ve ever seen it,” Pete Fontana, the U.S. Postal Service’s “Head Elf”, says of the pleas made by needy children.

“One little girl didn’t want anything for herself, She wanted a winter coat for her mother.”

As they do in Canada, Fontana runs point on letters written to Santa from the U.S. Postal Service’s main New York City branch. There, he and 22 “staff elves” sort two million letters addressed to Santa Claus in the North Pole each year.

And it’s been at the headquarters for Operation Santa that Fontana's crew has noticed this Christmas, more than any other, kids are lobbying St. Nick for basic necessities.

“This year my moom don’t (sic) have much money to spend on Christmas gifts so I’m writing to you,” says Cesar, 7. “It would make us very happy if you and your elves would bring us toys and clothes.”

Adds Melanney, 9: “I have been a very good girl this year,” the girl wrote, asking Santa for a coat and boots to stay warm.

Wait, it gets worse.

As if kids not asking for Xboxes and Barbie dolls and Justin Bieber action figures wasn’t enough, parents fallen on hard times have been forced to turn to Santa for relief, too.

One mom, Fontana tells USA Today, mailed a turn-off notice from her electric company with the note, “I am unable to buy my children toys and clothes. Santa, may you help me with my family?”

Recovery? Doesn’t seem as if we’re there, quite yet.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...