Do they know it's Christmas time?

We grabbed a card off of one of those Christmas "Wish Trees" for a local homeless shelter when I took the boys out to get their hair cuts the other day. It was from a 10 year old girl living in the shelter. What was she asking for?

"Home Essentials"

Ya know: Tooth brush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo & etc.. A kid wishing for nothing more than basics many take for granted every single day. You don't have to look to third world countries to see large scale and extreme poverty this year. It ain't pretty out there this year right here in our own backyards:

As a longtime Santa Claus at a suburban Chicago mall, Rod Riemersma used to jokingly tell children they would get socks for Christmas if they were naughty.

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.


Sometimes even the best training can't keep Santa from being caught off guard. Mike Smith, who works as Santa at the Polaris Fashion Place in Columbus, Ohio, says a 5-year-old girl wearing a Dora the Explorer sweat shirt last month hopped in his lap and asked, "Can you turn my daddy into an elf?" "Why?" he asked.

"Because my daddy's out of work, and we're about to lose our house," she said.