My Take: Being poor on Christmas
December 17th, 2011
11:59 PM ET

My Take: Being poor on Christmas

Editor's Note: Tangela Ekhoff is an inspirational speaker, comedy performer and ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. She blogs about marriage, motherhood and life in Oklahoma at Homegirl on the Range.

By Tangela Ekhoff, Special to CNN

(CNN) - For my husband and me, the crown jewel of success as parents is the shrieks and wanton joy that come when our children open presents on Christmas morning. It’s enough to breach the dams in my eyes. Every year, my husband (the better shopper) picks one big-ticket gift for our boys, the one we call “the Showstopper!”

The Showstopper is the present that is either No. 1 on their wish list or the one they didn’t even know they wanted, until they make confetti of the shiny paper that conceals the happiness wrapped inside. The Showstopper is THE gift. It’s so awe-inspiring that it causes an intermission to present-opening and signals the point when the boys forsake all other gifts to play with the Showstopper. Last year, it was Chuck the Talking Dump Truck.

This year, there will be no Showstopper.

I wish I could say we are avoiding the Showstopper out of solidarity for Americans who are too poor to afford Christmas. I wish we were that socially conscious. This year, the Showstopper will not be part of the Ekhoff family Christmas, because this year, we are the poor.

We moved from Montgomery, Alabama, to my husband’s childhood home of Owasso, Oklahoma, with high hopes and great expectations for opportunity. It is not going as well as we hoped. We have applied for several hundred jobs between us. I was rejected for a job at a chicken restaurant. I am from Alabama. I was born with a frying pan in one hand and a hunk of lard in the other. I’m still mad about not getting that job.

In a former life, my husband was a computer technician. In this life, he slings pizza, rakes leaves, shovels snow, cuts grass and bakes cakes, but it still is not enough money to pay for basics, let alone any utility bills. I use both of my worthless college degrees as microfiber cloths to fight grime as a house cleaner, and out here in Oklahoma, people are not as willing to pay for this service as they are in the South. I speak publicly and perform comedy, but gigs are harder to come by than we originally anticipated.

We thought the move to Oklahoma would turn it all around and send us sashaying back into our middle-class life. Instead, it has given us the final shove into the abyss of poverty. For us, 2011 has been the Worst. Year. Ever.

This is also the first year in the history of our family that we will not buy gifts for some unknown poor child as part of an Angel Tree project. Every year, we would buy hats, socks, mittens, jackets and/or toys for some poor child.

This year, at some church or business in our town, there are two construction paper Christmas stockings hanging on an Angel Tree with our sons’ wish list printed on them. This year, our sons are “those poor kids.” This year, if there is a Showstopper, it will not be purchased by us but by a generous, anonymous individual or family with the means to help us, the underprivileged family.

On the Christian calendar, the season leading up to Christmas is known as Advent. During Advent, Christians pray and light candles to remind us to wait expectantly and prepare for the miracle of the birth of Jesus Christ. This year, Advent is more meaningful to me than ever. This year, our family has lost so much, and I continually pray for a miracle. As our family awaits the celebration of the birth of Jesus, we anticipate and long for a better world not just for us but for others who suffer in the “new” economic reality: poverty.

My greatest hope, as we await the birth of Jesus, is that God restores our family financially. Yes, it’s selfish. I am grateful the Angel Tree project is available to provide my children and hundreds of children in my town with presents this Christmas. But, selfishly, I pray that next year there will be no Angel Tree. My husband and I are both intelligent and hard-working. We want nothing more than to provide for our children.

As we struggle with the new normal, we pray (yes, selfishly) that during this Advent, as we wait for Jesus’ light to shine upon the world, that a sliver of that miraculous light will shine on our little family. Like a child anticipating the rapturous joy of opening presents on Christmas morning, I hold on to my faith and anticipate a rebirth, a renewal, a restoration for our family.

I expect a miracle. And in this season of Advent, miracles happen every single day.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Tangela Ekhoff.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Christmas

soundoff (1,294 Responses)
  1. Perspective

    I think what is lacking here is perspective. We come from a household with a great income and my son will always get 3 gifts each Christmas (one for each wiseman), with no emphasis on the receiving gifts part. There will not be a showstopper. What is showstopping, however, is visiting countries like India and seeing how some children don't even have clean water nor a roof over their heads, and probably never will. What is showstopping is giving my child the perspective about giving to our community and emphasizing on what REALLY matters. Gifts are just gifts. Giving is joy, and that's what our Christmas – and entire year – is joyfully all about, period. American Christmases have become ridiculous.

    December 18, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • cats22

      'What is showstopping is visiting other countries' – must be nice. People the world over are not able to pay their bills. Now reports are coming out about debtors' prisons returning and people are fearful of the law arresting them for a bill they have not paid or are unable to pay. You talk about visiting other countries. Europeans can do that a while lot easier than Americans. Must be nice to have the money to do that!

      December 18, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Jessie

      "We come from a household with a great income and my son will always get 3 gifts each Christmas..."

      A lot of families thought the same thing until the rug was pulled out from under them. Be grateful for what you have; it can disappear quickly.

      December 19, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  2. anonymous

    I really feel for this family, and I can really understand their plight. Poor people generally do understand the suffering of their fellow poor. We are poor and we understand. However, we cannot find employment at our age. Our health does not permit us to work. So I pray their children will understand that their parents are doing their best.

    After a lifetime of working hard and saving whatever we could, our senior years are hardly golden. More like lead. We have used up our savings paying for emergencies and drive a 14 year old vehicle that we pray keeps running. We pay our mortgage and then our utilities, then worry about food and medicine.

    While our children are doing very, very well financially, thanks be to God, we are not. We have been sliding into poverty for some time and last year we really hit hard times. Last year for the first time we could not afford any Christmas gifts for our grandchildren; we had to tell our adult children that we were unable to do so because we did not have the money to do spend on gifts after being hit with serious medical expenses.

    2011 was the first year we could not afford birthday gifts but we did send cards.

    This Christmas we are barely keeping our heads above water. Once again there will be no gifts for the grandchildren.

    But, we guess it won't matter. We never hear from them anyways. The grandchildren have never acknowledged any gift and neither have their parents. In the past we have always had to call or email or something to find out if the gifts we sent arrived because we never heard anything from anyone.

    Since 2010 when we sent no gifts at Christmas, we're lucky to hear from the adult children on a birthday or on a holiday. Even if we call, we usually get a voice mail and rarely hear back. So, we're not surprised that the grandchildren don't contact us. They've learned from their parents a response is not required.

    While some families come closer in adversity, this has not happened to us. Some where along the way our children have learned to be selfish; maybe because along the way we gave them too much too often. They and their children live their own lives in different parts of the country but they could be a world away and really don't communicate with us or even with each other. They lead very separate and selfish lives.

    So, if there's a crisis we're on our own. Sad to say, we think that it's because we no longer have anything left to give.

    We have not yet reached the point where we need assistance from charity but some day we may. We don't know. We pray not. But, one major disaster could bring us to that point. We both feel that our children would never offer to help and that we might not get help if we asked.

    So, we decided a while back that when we are both dead our meager belongings, all that we have will go to charity - to those who need a helping hand. It won't be much, but whatever we have goes to people in need.

    Why I did I write all this? Not just to vent, but to tell people help one another - love one another - share with one another.
    You never know when you donate to charity you are not just helping some family with children, you may be helping seniors who may need a helping hand because they may have not anyone willing or able to help.
    You never know whose lives you will brighten.
    I pray that this recession ends very soon and people are back to work again.
    But there will always be people in need.
    So, help when and where you can.

    And, please, please don't give your children too much - teach them the value of sharing and giving, not just receiving.
    Don't make the mistake we made of giving our children and grandchildren everything we could....

    Maybe a little adversity will teach your children that they can't and won't get everything and anything they want.

    That maybe they will have to work for it and to share what they have earned to help those less fortunate.


    Because one of the best gifts you can give your children is to teach them responsibility and compassion for others and that the best gift of all is love.

    For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

    December 18, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • bluey_qld

      That's a very sad story Anon. I am sorry that your family is not supportive. The one thing that disgusts me about this country, that brain-washed Americans continue to blindly call the best country in the world, is the medical shame, you call a system. No One, NO ONE, in this country legally, should be put in the poor house because they get sick. It's mind-blowing and hypocritical of this nation to do so. Lawyers, Financial wizards (crooks) and politicians have buried this country. Americans rag on socialized medicine, yet in countries like Australia (mine), Canada, UK etc. you won't go broke because you got old and sick. Time to wake up America...your education system stinks, your medical insurance set-up is a crime, you have no empathy for each other or anyone from outside this nation. Yes, it was once the greatest country in the world, but as this writer put it...if you don't start caring about each other, she's gone!

      December 18, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • Sharon

      I feel for your story and it’s one I have heard from many seniors in America. We have become a greedy country and we have lost our sense of family. It’s one of the reason I don’t like Christianity, it doesn’t instill the sense of family like other religions. Children should be checking in on their parents, they should be taking care of them, helping them out but their greed for themselves gets in the way. What is even sadder is the fact that health care has become so expensive and without insurance you pay for that care. It was costing $25,000 a week when my mother got ill for hospital care. Who in the middle class can afford that? NO ONE. The problem is if you own your home that is consider valuable in the eyes of Medicare. Until the person dwindles their value down to less than 2000 dollars you do not get help. It’s why so many older people transfer their homes into their children’s name and sell much of their belongings. If you have to get medical help they basically will take those things if you can’t pay. So many elderly have to work the system. Regardless of your beliefs the fact our society has lost value in our senior citizens and strong family values is part of the decay of the spirit of America.

      December 19, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  3. HillClimber

    I see several posts trying to indicate that Obama is the reason for the financial problem this season. Wrong – the Anti Christ George Walker Bush is the initiator of the financial damage to America, and the person responsible for the alien invasion of the United States as well as the two wars that were unnecessary and that have rendered our country impoverished (don't forget the financial bubble created due to the lack of oversight of the mortgage industry! When, oh when, will we take George Walker Bush to the Hague to be tried for Crimes Against Humanity. I hope no more time passes before we do!

    December 18, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  4. justbecause

    This article makes me sick. People do not even know the meaning of the word poor anymore. You know what my dad got for Christmas presents back in the 30's and 40's? Oranges and stick candy. He thought that was amazing and very cool. I'm only 41, and my "showstoppers" were things like a sleeping back or a watch. Now you're "poor" if you can't give your kid some huge gift, like a video game system that will just make them fat and stupid...even more stupid than their parents who spoil them rotten to assuage their guilt of putting the kids last with their time and attention during the year. Let's have everyone 50 and under take a field trip to 3rd world countries and then have them re-read this article. Even "making ends meet" anymore means not being able to pay your cable bill or expensive snacks or Happy Meals. PLEASE!!! Do a little study about the history of this country within just the last 100 years. No bailouts, no handouts in the 30's, yet people had great Christmases. Probably had more to do with the fact that they put more emphasis on actually staying together as a family. I know people who live in a $300,000 house who've been on welfare for 13 years. It's a way of life. My grandparents would have never dreamed of taking a handout. It was beneath them. They dressed my parents in clothes made from flour sacks and the kids went barefoot in the summer. I'm sick to death of all the welfare recipients I know...and believe me I know a lot of them. Nauseating.

    December 18, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • cats22

      You are nauseating. It sounds just like 'poor little old me'. Times were different when you, and I, were growing up. Times are much more materialistic now. When you were young, nobody thought bad of you or made fun of your clothes as just about everyone in the same age group got them. Back then, oranges and sticks of candy WERE THE SHOWSTOPPERS! s to the poor not knowing the true value of 'making ends meet', you need to re-think this. Most of hte poor DO know. They know all about the choice of purchasing medicines for the children or puting food on the table. About paying the mortgage vs the electric bill. Not everyone received the stimulus money that went to private citizens way back when. Pennies can only stretch so far. Yes, there are some people who take advantage of the welfare system – sound like you have met the lion's share of them. However, most of the people need more help than is available to them. For example, in my town in the South, there are at least 2 places that you can apply to for help with your electric bill. However, they will only pay it after it has become past due. There is no place to help with the water bill. If you live in town, you need to have ruing water and power or the city will take your home away from you and kick you out onto the streets (even if you own your home free and clear). My husband and I are poor. We don't have enough for even the basics. We totally understand where the family in this article is coming from and we wish them the best. Don't worry – it sounds like you have raised your children well and they will understand. They may even appreciate being able to help by not asking for high-priced items.

      December 18, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • justbecause

      Bull. People made fun of kids all the time if they were not among the "haves." That is not the point here. The point I'm making was actually reinforced by you. This is a materialistic society. That is a bad thing. It is not because we are now somehow so much more enlightened than our parents...y'know, they just didn't know how much they NEEDED all the stuff they did without, but now that we know we NEED all that stuff, it's a tragedy when we can't have it. I can guarantee that the majority of people on welfare either a)smoke, b) have cable, c) are obese, d)buy things they don't NEED, e)drink, f)sleep around, g)get their hair and nails done,h)get pregnant over and over, i)buy expensive tennis shoes, purses and jewelry, etc. Know how I know this?? Because I live in a small town in the south just like you do. My husband and I work with school-aged kids who come from "poor" families. I did not mean for this to digress into a welfare discussion, but somehow it went there for me after your comments. I am not talking about people who fell on hard times and are doing without NECESSITIES (like food and clothes). I am talking about people who have made the whole welfare thing their "career of choice." They work very hard at doing as little as possible to still qualify for handouts. I am not coming at this from an uneducated observer. I am in the middle of these people. I also know DHS employees who work among these people. Go into your local DHS office. It reeks of cigarettes. Somehow they're getting that money. I think it's just a matter of defining what the word "need" means. Every 4 seconds a child dies in the world from STARVATION. Ever known anyone who has died of starvation? Not me. I've known some who have gone to bed hungry because they were not willing to take welfare (including people in my family who are my age). But they didn't starve. Guess what? I'm betting if you asked the parents of any of those kids who wasted away from hunger, they wouldn't be bemoaning the fact that their kid didn't get an x-box. It's a matter of perspective. That was my point, and I'm sorry it turned into a welfare thing...I probably shouldn't have put that part in there, even if it is true. By the way, if you have the internet, that means you have disposable income, which also means you have money to pay your light bill.

      December 18, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  5. Kevin

    I have empathy for this woman's and her husband's struggles to make end's meet, as well as those of millions of other fellow Americans and others around the world in this Recession. I can understand and agree with some posters' comments that the true meaning of Christmas is not the showstopper, but health, family, friends, and compassion. However, I am not sure if that was the author's point. I could be wrong, but I think that for this writer, the showstopper for her was more symbolic of bringing joy to her kids' faces, which is obviously not wrong. Personally, I do not think though, even in poverty, that she has lost her ability to make her children smile, so even if she doesn't have the showstopper, she still has a great family and can still be a great mother without the material gift. I definitely empathize with the loss of her and her husbands' jobs, though, and the struggle to make ends' meet. I wish her and all people struggling in this country and around the world, a better future.

    December 18, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  6. Denise

    I can relate to this article. This year there will be no big surprises under our tree (which still isn't up!) and we will celebrate the fact that we still have a roof over our heads (for now) and have family that helps us when we need it most. We are thankful that Mike's health scare is behind us and will revel in knowing that we will be a family for many years to come. As a parent who is used to dazzling her only child with the material things of Christmas, I hope that this Christmas she will understand that there are more important things to celebrate than getting the newest gadget. For all of my friends that are also experiencing this Christmas in a new light, I wish you peace and everlasting faith in God. Because when it comes right down to it, it's not the gifts under the tree that are important, it's the love and family that surround it.

    December 18, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  7. Santa Came To America This Season

    Yes what gifts the Americans received this season!!! First present was the announcement of The Destruction of American Baseball by Barry Bonds, Second announcement was the Divorce announcement by Kobe Bryant's wife after learning he is still raping woman and paying off prosecutions. Then their is the Elevator murder by burning a 54 year old woman to death, don't forget...the wife cheater Tiger Woods, and all the rest of the bad news. We did end the expensive war in Iraq but we promise to send millions of unsupervised money to help the Governments all around the World. Yes its great being poor and appreciating what our Government has let happen, desegregate communities to help the poor (did not work), we have created a mass of funny farms (ghettos)that are infested with drug addicts, murderers, and rapist. Merry Christmas Everyone on the backs of all good Citizens... enjoy what you were meant to be...suckers in a game of chance. Lets pass a Bill to allow a tax cut of $1.50 a day and also pass a Bill that the oil companies will make a billion dollars a day. Ho Ho Ho Jesus Christ

    December 18, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  8. becky

    I know how you feel. My husband hasn't worked in 3 years except what constuction odd jobs he can pick up here and there. He has a Human Resource degree and this is the first time in 30+ years he hasn't worked to support his family. Our tree is also bear but our hearts are filled with the love of each other, our children and our health. We have almost lost our home 3 times but thanks to a wonderful and generous friend and a family member we are still holding on to it by the skin of our teeth. We have a grandson this year so we have him to rejoice with. Praying for you and your family in hopes you will return the favor for mine.

    December 18, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Denise

      becky, i hope next year will bring you more peace and happiness. i loved your honest response amid the cynical posts. bitterness seems to rule the air this season! may god bless you and yours. -denise

      December 18, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  9. xeno

    This article lost me at "the crown jewel of success as parents is the shrieks and wanton joy that come when our children open presents on Christmas morning." This isn't a measure of successful parenting AT ALL! This is a measure of the ability to buy stuff you don't need.

    December 18, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • cats22

      How about making your children happy? That is not successful parenting?

      December 18, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Stac

      I totally agree with you, I was lost at that too. And as far as making your kids happy...if a big gift is the only thing that will make your kid happy then that is not successful parenting. I feel bad that her family has fallen on hard times, but she needs to take a moment and give herself and family some perspective.

      December 18, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  10. geroen krabbe

    join the club – why is this familys' story being singled out over any of the other millions of impoverished americans .
    be happy you have a roof over your heard and food in your tummy while alot live outside and starve. screw xmas gifts . pay the food bill and utilities – if the kids whine too bad

    December 18, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • mar

      I was a single parent of 3 struggling & never had problems getting my kids gifts "thank you for LAYAWAY" alot of parents spoil there children so much they expect the best of things. Teach them to be humble & thankful

      December 18, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • cats22

      Hello Grinch! You came extra early this year!

      December 18, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  11. ChristmasCommercial

    GOD BLESS each every one of us! i LOVE the sympathy for Consumerism!Buy crap for the "WoW" factor! You know I think I actually vomited in my mouth! OH no dont teach your children about the true meaning of christmas! Even if your Aethiest, you can still teach your children something that is not based on presents! Oh wait, sorry I gotta get back to wrapping this brand Xbox for my 3 year old son ...its his "WoW" present this christmas,,,haha

    December 18, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  12. J Thompson

    I find this article a little sickening to be honest. I do not mean to offend the Ekhoff's, nor do I intend to judge them but for CNN to run this article truly shows how out of touch with humanity we all are. Ms. Ekhoff is devastated that they will not have a "showstopper" gift to top off Christmas for their boys? "For us, 2011 has been the Worst. Year. Ever." ? Really... Well let's just take a moment and dissect this thought. Ms. Ekhoff, are your children healthy this year? Are they free from terminal illness and disease? Do they have a roof over their heads? Food to eat on the table? You speak like you and the children are huddled beneath a cardboard box this year, and it's truly astonishing how you feel that there's nothing more important than something materialistic such as this "showstopping" present you described from previous years. Just from reading this article I can see you have plenty and a lot more than many other people to be thankful for. Although I can't blame your children for being upset on Christmas morning that there's no huge one gift as in previous years; there just children, but I do blame you. Why not start a new tradition this year; teach your children something they will take with them for life; that material objects are not the most important thing about Christmas as you portray them to be. You say you won't be giving a gift to a poor child this year? That you did in previous years is not impressive to me. What would impress me is for you to go out this year and buy a gift for a poor child out of the little you do have, that would truly show kindness and love to your fellow man. Otherwise your just talking about it as a self serving ego booster and I will not buy what your selling. I am empathetic that you can not enjoy all the fancy things you and your family have enjoyed in the years past; but instead of reflecting on your good fortune for many years, your "devastated" about one tough year and the absent of huge "showstopping" gifts? This is greed, WAKE UP! Many people have the christmas your having this year every single year and they make the best of it, cherish it, and consider the memories of family and friends to be the showstoppers. Get a grip Ms Ekhoff and CNN keep on truckin as main stream media peddling your BS to every home. Soon the people will rise and no longer feed into this malarkey.

    December 18, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • BonnieBog

      She has a blog, you should read it. The reason that this is the worst year ever for her family is that she lost her mother, two of her oldest and dearest friend, and her son was diagnosed with a serious illness and almost died. No, they haven't always had a place to live this year. No, they haven't had food on the table. Her mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness and died suddenly and she wasnt able to come home for the funeral because they could not afford it. She has a Masters Degree and she is cleaning houses. Have some compassion, please.

      December 18, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • Shan

      J – thank you for this thoughtful response. I think that a lot of us should do some soul searching this season, on what is really important. Looking in my own mirror, what have I done to help anyone else?

      December 18, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • themoi

      I agree with everything you said. Oh boo hoo. For this 1 year we can't do what we always did and get something big. Wah, wah, wah. This country almost NEEDS another Depression to make people appreciate what they DO have and not what they coulda, shoulda, woulda had and don't have now. You are right. Every Christmas it's Gordon Gekko all over again with the "Greed is Good" mantra. Learn a little humility and quit feeling sorry for yourselves. As the above writer said, you're not living in a box on the street and you do have jobs even if they are menial. So shuddup and get over yourselves because we're sick and tired of hearing about it!

      December 18, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • BMW57

      Is this what we have come to. I understand the concept that we should all be thankful for what we have such as the health of our loved ones, (god willing). Do we really agree that our standard of living should be lowered so far that just to be alive is considered doing okay? We do not live in Hati or Somalia, we live in the US and the total wealth level of this country is is unmatched in the world. The point I see in this story is not that this family is doing better than the millions of homeless, it is the fact that we have allowed such a wide gap to exist between rich and poor that in the middle of obscene wealth we have millions of families like this one.

      This past week a story was prinited in the Financial Times, the key numbers are these: Currenlty the division of corporate profit is now 59% to wages and 41% to capital, historically these numbers have been 66% to wages and 33% to capital. This change is yet another indicator of the redistribution of wealth from the many to the few and it must be stopped. Wealth needs to be re-allocated to those who work in our economy. This family wants to work but where are the jobs? Where are the jobs with wages to live on and build a life on? We have had 10 years of low taxes on the "job creators" where are the jobs?

      December 18, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • cats22

      To themoi – If there is another recession/depression, PLEASE TAKE YOUR SPOT AT THE HEAD OF THE LINE! Yes, Americans need to lean to be more caring of others. Instead of it always be a Gekkco Christmas at your house, how about giving some of those toys to needy children? How about telling your children, and enforcing it, that for every new game or toy they get this year, one in good condition with all of it's unbroken pieces has to go to a needy child? Adults go hungry so their children can eat. Adults will do without things so their children can have joy and be children unaffected by the world for at least a little while. Practice what you think you are preaching about goodness. Right now you are only preaching bad things.

      December 18, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  13. Oleg

    We are both working in senior tech jobs, yet no showstoppers for us either. Elementary school tuition for two kids is $4000/month and public schools, despite being in a nice area, are running on donations. We would rather preserve the options for kids to study in a safe place than buy consumer items. While I am not making any comparisons with the author, the fact is that basic necessities are getting out of rich of 3/4th of Americans. Really said. A hint for the author though – if you want to make it big, you might consider choices other than Oklahoma or Alabama.

    December 18, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • bkhdoc

      Yea, like Nevada...here they are doing real well. Stupid suggestion.

      December 18, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Wow

      Yeah, really hard to feel bad for someone who pays tuition for their children's schooling. You could always send em to public school and supplement with homeschooling if you don't think the public schools are good enough.

      December 18, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • BMW57

      How did you vote on the last school budget? Are you among those who complain about your taxes? You seem to have money for private school, maybe you need to realize what an education costs. I have a relative who on occasion complains about taxes yet they have a 250K income and can't make ends meet because (they say) taxes are too high yet they also went the private school route. My compassion is for the families at 30K or 20K a year.

      As I see it you really need to ask yourself homestly if waht you do for a living is really worth to society 8-10 times what an average worker is paid . The fact that you are paid that much is not in itself an indication that you are worth that much.

      December 18, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  14. Lesli

    Like the author, this has been the worst year of my life. I have a master's degree and have had a great career until a couple of years ago when I lost my job. I eventually found another only to lose that one, too. I relocated my children twice for those jobs and now find myself on the brink of being evicted. My car was repossessed two months ago. Things seem to go from bad to worse. I was once a middle-class professional with a nice home, cars, took trips, had a great social life–and nearly all of that changed after my divorce; it's been a struggle ever since. I don't receive any government assistance yet have checked into. Amazingly, despite how "poor" we are, I'm not eligible. To add to all of this, I desperately need surgery for a medical condition but no health insurance. Again, I'm not poor enough or old enough to get any help. I've worked my entire adult life, paid taxes, paid into "the system" yet in this year where I've needed help–still need help–there's NOTHING for me. I've never asked for help but now that I've had to, I'm shocked that I don't fit any of the qualifications. I shield my children from as much of our situation as I can but in another couple of weeks, I'm going to have to tell them that we're moving in with my mom. My unemployment insurance runs out in February. In the past 8 months, I've had TWO interviews. I don't regret getting my degrees; I worked really hard for them. I'm just ready for this entire national situation to change and go back to work. Let's hope 2012 is better for all of us.

    December 18, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • clm

      NO ONE should help you. Get off your butt and work at Taco Bell, Wendys and McDonalds. Clean houses, do anything you can but DO NOT ask for a handout from your government.

      December 18, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Harnot

      I vote we track down clm and show him our fists and firebomb his parents basement where he is hiding.

      December 18, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • MashaSobaka

      clm, do you know anything about...anything? Do you HONESTLY believe that a starting job at a fast food restaurant will provide enough money to pay the bills? Seriously?

      December 18, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Katherine

      How disheartening your letter was. There is one family who will be thinking of you and yours and hoping for success for all. Merry Christmas.

      December 18, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • cats22

      Good Luck!

      December 18, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  15. Ann

    Tangela, If you voted for him, you can see the change he said to believe in, LOLOLOL. Financial destruction and no morals do NOT help ANY of us in this great country. There are many blacks who are NOT voting for Obamaaaaaaaaa.

    December 18, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • mar

      I am not black and he will have my vote again...this economy was fkd up before he got here. Stop blaming others for your misfortunes. This has been a very blessed year for my family we were finally able to buy a home so who can I "blame" for that?

      December 18, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  16. LEE MT

    Stupid article. Instead of worrying about the "wow" Christmas present....how about showing your children some you tube videos about how life is for children in Haiti, Syria, or Somalia. Then teach them to be thankful for the gifts they already have.

    December 18, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Shan

      Wow, didn't see this comment coming. Thanks for typing out what we were all thinking.

      December 18, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • ktw


      December 18, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Al

      What a lame comment and so ignorant and arrogant. This whole thread is filled with judgmental snobs like you making snide remarks implying that whipping children would make them more "thankful" they aren't being tortured to death as well and that comparing apples and oranges is really what you think.
      Good job on looking stupid, lee.

      December 18, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • Pelle

      There's a lot of whites who won't be voting for any of the GOP contenders, that's for sure! And you can't lay all the blame on a single person. Although if one did, George W. would deserve a lot of it for the national debt he created (Clinton left us with a surplus, remember?).

      December 18, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  17. Jim

    Thank the Obama Economy for allowing us to get in touch with the true meaning of Christmas.

    December 18, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Al

      You and Ann are obviously the same troll. Die soon, you piece of human shlt.

      December 18, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • LEE MT

      AL< you are calling other people troll? who's using vulgar language? Whose trying to provoke? Get a life, brain-dead.

      December 18, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Pelle

      I believe your blame is misplaced. Obama actually created jobs...Bush created debt, despair & unemployment wherever he went...

      December 18, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  18. Ann

    Change you can believe in. Thank Obama and Barney Frankie for our financial destruction.

    December 18, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Al

      Burn to death in a fire, Ann. Your lies are not welcome anywhere but amongst other liars like you.

      December 18, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • Pelle

      Ann, dear, where were your complaints when Bush/Cheney were in charge? Were you against their illegal wars that got us into this mess in the first place? If not, go away, that's a good girl...

      December 18, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • Please clarify

      Underwear guy-what is it you're trying to say, anyway? Confusing.

      December 18, 2011 at 2:55 pm |


    December 18, 2011 at 2:02 pm |


      December 18, 2011 at 2:06 pm |


      December 18, 2011 at 2:07 pm |


      December 18, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  20. David

    Who would win a fight? Jesus or Santa?

    December 18, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.