With all due respect, Andy Rooney, it’s awfully hard for me to feel badly for you because you’re uncomfortable having “quite a bit” of money right now.
It’s not because I’m feeling cash-strapped and stressed. It’s because the Christmas tree at my youngest kids’ preschool is decorated with tiny colored lights and pairs of red and green paper mittens, and on the mittens are scrawled Christmas wishes from local children.
The wishes aren’t extravagant. A 5-year-old asked for “any toy.” A 14-year-old wanted a set of extra-large fleecy pajama bottoms. A tween asked for a scarf, gloves, and a hat. Several teens each requested a gift certificate to a fast food place; one child asked for a gift card to a local grocery store.
This is the new, heartbreaking norm. According to the Wall Street Journal, kids are asking Santa to bring the essentials this year — shoes and socks, eyeglasses, and even jobs for their parents. A recent survey by the American Psychological Association says that children are more stressed out than ever before, and about 30 percent of kids surveyed said their top worry was about their family’s financial situation.