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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. Preston

    One of the worst articles I have ever read. It's sad that people can only be fulfilled on Christmas by materialistic objects. Tangela, you have no sense of the true meaning of Christmas. My family is by no means "poor",but no means "rich". I know my parents don't base their parenting off of our Christmas presents. I respect how hard my parents work to provide for a family, and that in itself is something to rejoice about. I am thankful for a healthy family, food on my plate, a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and knowing that I celebrate Christmas for the right reasons. I hope you can find a new direction in your life and be satisfied with what you have. God Bless.

    December 18, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
    • jwas1914

      Hello Preston: What we need to concern ourselves with is if this holiday is in fact a religious holiday. Does the Holy Scriptures indicate the birth of Christ being the 25th of December? How does God view such celebration? Is Jesus name being used in vain? What does Santa Clause, a Christmas tree, Frosty the Snow Man and Rain Dears have in common with Christ? Is there a link? Is Christmas a true Christian holiday? Please visit http://examinetheholyscripturesdaily.blogspot.com/ for details. Please read your Bible daily.

      December 19, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • .....

      When ever you see this jwas1914 posting click the report abuse link to get rid of this TROLL!

      December 19, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • Get This

      @.....

      I say let those posts stay. They glaringly show just how stupid this @jwas1914 is.

      December 19, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • jwas1914

      How the truthe always hurts! Funny how we live in a democratic country and there are those that have a communist heart. What ever happened to the freedom of speech?

      December 19, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  2. mary

    Not much here either as far as Christmas gifts, but we all have each other and are quite content. Just hoping that things don't get worse for everybody.

    December 18, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • Tara

      It's refreshing to know that there are still people out there who understand the true meaning of Christmas!

      December 18, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's tragic to see that some people are so busy passing judgment they can't figure out the true meaning of Christmas, Tara. Get off your high horse.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:45 am |
  3. cantsee

    Thanks, Kevin

    December 18, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
  4. Red

    I know two white families that have no income because they can't find work. Recently our State cut many families off their Cash Benefit (welfare) and the effect is a rise in crime including Home Invasions. Sometimes they steal all the presents under the tree and leave you with nothing for Christmas. So this year for Christmas I had to buy a gun. I also had to replace the barbeque grill they stole out of my backyard in September. Merry Christmas!

    December 18, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
    • *frank*

      Some of my best friends are white people.

      December 18, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Red

      Unbelievable! You mean if you cut off people's only legal means of existing, they may turn to crime? Rather than see their children starve, they might steal a loaf of bread? They would take from the rich? How dare they !

      Taking from the poor, while allowing the rich huge tax breaks, so they can become richer, does not seem to be in keeping with what Jesus would do. I think wronging the poor, may destroy this nation.

      Prov. 29:7. The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor; the wicked does not understand such concern.

      1 John 3:17. But whoever has the world's goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?

      Is. 10:1-3. "Woe to those who enact evil statutes, and to those who continually record unjust decisions, so as to deprive the needy of justice, and rob the poor of My people of their rights... Now what will you do in the day of punishment, and in the devastation which will come from afar?"

      Lev. 19:15. "You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly." – Fair Progressive taxation?

      Prov. 19:17. He who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his good deed.

      Prov. 14:31. He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, but he who is gracious to the needy honors Him.

      2 Cor. 8:9. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

      And then there is this, which answers all the trash the Republicans talk:

      Mt. 25:31-46. "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on His left.
      Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'
      Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite you in, or naked, and clothe You? And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'
      And the King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'
      Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.'
      Then they themselves will also answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?'
      Then He will answer them, saying, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

      I think, if you accept the Republican rhetoric, you are not a Christian.

      Cheers!

      December 18, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Great post Dave.

      Merry Christmas.

      December 19, 2011 at 12:09 am |
    • Joxer the Mighty

      @David The problem with your statements is that, by wanting the government to take care of the poor, all you have to do is pay the higher taxes to support them. Being forced to give to the poor is a whole lot different than choosing to. Maybe instead of reaching into everyone else's pocket, those who want to live out Christ's teaching should not go deeply into debt so they can have nice "stuff". Maybe the should CHOOSE instead to give their time and money to the poor and let God judge everyone else's selfishness.

      December 19, 2011 at 5:42 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Joxer the Mighty

      You said: "The problem with your statements is that, by wanting the government to take care of the poor, all you have to do is pay the higher taxes to support them. Being forced to give to the poor is a whole lot different than choosing to. Maybe instead of reaching into everyone else's pocket, those who want to live out Christ's teaching should not go deeply into debt so they can have nice "stuff". Maybe the should CHOOSE instead to give their time and money to the poor and let God judge everyone else's selfishness."

      Yes, that is what the Christian Right wants. To take over the welfare services. This would greatly increase their power. The state uses only income as a qualification. The Christian Right could use... anything they wished. All women on welfare must be in by 9:00 PM. All men must be out of bed, shaved and looking for work by 8:00AM. All welfare recipients must attend a church service at least once per week. Drug testing done randomly. Welfare money cannot be used for contraceptives.

      Many problems with it. Many people would give nothing. Others very little. Certainly they would not receive as much money as they get from compulsory taxation. This means less money to help the less fortunate. Progressive taxation is fair.

      I want the government to handle welfare services. I want those that can work to be trained to be everything from air conditioning repairmen, electricians, carpenters, etc. I don't want them to be thought of as only good for menial tasks. I certainly don't want the poor's children to be cleaning up the doodie of the rich kids. I want these kids learning. If in high school, they wish to learn a trade, then this should be available. Everything from truck driver to heavy duty equipment operators. Good, respectable jobs can be had, without 4 years in college. A guy might suck at math, but be able to drive an 18 wheeler like a champ.

      The words I quoted were not mine. They were the words of the Christian god. The Christian God, people use to pray to.
      The Christian Right are not following the words of Christ. The Prosperity Gospel was never mentioned by Jesus.

      During one of the Republican debates, the Christian Right – Tea Party – shouted "YES!" when the question was asked, if a man who had not purchased health insurance and was now ill, should be allowed to die? They, who claim to be filled with the spirit of god and pray for Jesus to return for them, shouted "YES!" to letting a sick man die because of money!

      Luke 10:25-37

      [25] On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

      [26] "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"

      [27] He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

      [28] "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."

      [29] But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

      [30] In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. [31] A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. [32] So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. [33] But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. [34] He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. [35] The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'

      [36] "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"

      [37] The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."

      Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."

      The Christian Right are not followers of the teachings of Christ. I don't want their brand of Jesus in charge.

      Cheers!

      December 19, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  5. Sherry Buckner

    Tangela...your honesty and your hope inspires me. Thank you for being so truthful about what many of us feel. Things have changed and we miss the ease and innocence of a short time ago. You sound like such good people caught in a crises not of your own making.
    At first I was shocked by the unkind and unfair remarks of so many. And I realized that this poverty of the soul expressed by racist, classist and ignorant neighbors explains why we are in this constructed mess right now. Many of us NEED to go back to the values we were taught early in life. Those who condemn will be at a loss without some kindness from others later.
    I hope and pray that your life eases and that safety returns.
    I too wish I could give as I once did to those I love and I suspect most of the critics do too.
    Those who spurn your hopefulness and sorrow are in denial...thinking that the fairy tale is still true...that we control our own economic destiny through our hard work.
    Never was true and never will be again. The wealthy are choking us...hoarding more and more in a tiny concentration.
    If there is salvation in this...and I believe there is!...it is in learning where the power is fouling the garden and exceeding their greed with our care for one another and outr hopefulness for the best in us to emerge.
    You are a gift to these times and I thank you for your words.

    December 18, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
    • Tara

      This woman has completely lost the value of the true meaning of Christmas. Why do you have to turn it into an issue of race? If criticing her for claiming that the "crown jewel of success as a parent" is buying her kids a big-ticket Christmas item, then I guess I'm racist, although, I would be criticing anyone who had such warped parental and Christmas values.

      December 18, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      This woman is a mom. God Bless her and her beautiful family.

      Amen.

      December 19, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • D'Andre Latravious Dontarious Jackson

      Buy some bling bling for her and gold grills for her husband.

      December 19, 2011 at 2:22 am |
  6. hodgepodge4thesoul

    Reblogged this on Hodgepodge 4 the Soul.

    December 18, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
  7. desertarea

    I liked the line: "born in Alabama with a frying pan in one hand and lard in the other".
    Alabamans have a great sense of humor. Maybe that is why you get by.
    An Alabama friend always introduces herself to people in Southern California as:
    Hi, I'm from L.A., lower Alabama.

    December 18, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
  8. Tangela

    You crakas be whack! Does I look like I cares what you thinks? NO! White trash zionists!

    December 18, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
    • ChristmasCommercial

      Im sorry for your conditions Tangela. I read your article, while it moves me because it is painful. I do think that there is more things to teach your children than to expect a big gifts.Um btw your the most crackas for being selfish at this time of year! God Bless! 🙂

      December 18, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Wow, this article created a lot of salt throwers for a mom who just wants to ensure her children aren't left out of a man made tradition.

      Amen.

      December 19, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      Wow, HeavenSent well said (outside of the Amen but we won't go there). This woman doesn't deserve judged by anyone for doing what she did to bring bring a smile to her children's faces.

      December 19, 2011 at 5:52 am |
  9. Ta

    I know all to well the feeling. I am so lost this holiday that I couldn't even manage to put up the Christmas decorations. Instead they remain packed away, for the first time in over 40 years the twinkle, bustle and happy step is gone. We all but starved our selves trying to hang onto our home before tearfully having to turn it back over. Our dream and home gone. Our college degrees don't mean a thing...haven't been able to land a job at a fast food place even. We went from being higher end middle class to poor, heart broken and depressed.
    I pray 2012 will bring a ray of hope to so many of us that are in this situation. I pray that we can find strength through each other and common ground in our situations will open our eyes to showing a helping hand to our neighbors that we hardly muster a wave hello let alone know each others names.

    December 18, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
    • jwas1914

      Hello Ta

      I’m really sorry to hear that you have lost your home. It’s unfortunate that many of us are in a similar situation like yours. I too am in the process of losing my home. But I don’t think about what this world gives us. I like to think of the upcoming events that the Jehovah God promises. According to the Bible this world is governed by individuals that are cruel, selfish and greedy. So; what hope is there? In the book of Isaiah 65:21, 22 it says that there will come a time when we “will certainly build houses and have occupancy, and [we] will certainly plant vineyards and eat [our] fruitage, [we] will not build and someone else have occupancy…” Scriptures like this one and like Psalms 37:9, 29 that says “for evildoers themselves will be cut off, but those hoping in Jehovah are the ones that will possess the earth. The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.” Those causing injustice to us will soon pay the price for their actions. No evil person(s) will escape from God’s wrath. God’s kingdom is soon to come; all we need to do is deep sincere prayers and confide in Him. How can we do this? We can do this by reading our Bible daily. I hope I was able to shed a little light of hope.

      December 19, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "God’s kingdom is soon to come; all we need to do is deep sincere prayers and confide in Him. How can we do this? We can do this by reading our Bible daily. I hope I was able to shed a little light of hope."

      No, it's not it's just delusional people like you that keep saying it over and over again throughout history. It's not going to happen because your god does not exist.

      December 19, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
  10. In Soviet Oklahoma

    talking dump truck dump YOU!

    December 18, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
  11. Lisa

    Looking forward to Xmas in a homeless shelter. This is not what I went to college for, no jobs, nothing.

    December 18, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
  12. Robert

    You are not poor by a long shot. Would you trade places with a family from Sudan? Have you crawled to a UN food station? Have you seen the picture of the little child crawling in the desert and a buzzard, hawk or some such waiting for the child to die. You have a roof over your head and to judge from your picture more than enough to eat. You have treated this season as nothing more than a contest to see how much you could spend for your children.
    Now is that time to get on you knees and thank your Lord for all that you have. Trust in Him and not in materialism. This new condition of "poor" as you call it may be the best thing that has ever happened to your family. Think about it. And may God bless you and yours.

    December 18, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
    • wangfeihong

      A little harsh don't you think? But I agree about the starving poor. Americans have no idea what its like to almost starve to death every year.

      December 18, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, can it, you sanctimonious POS. Go live in Sudan yourself and make life here better for everyone by your absence, Robert, you toad.

      December 18, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
  13. Nisie

    I am team Tangela, and found her article honest and uplifting. I think all you haters need to get a heart, and quit judging lest ye be judged!

    December 18, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
  14. guest

    This is the first Christmas in nearly 30 years that there will be nothing under my tree, because I cannot even afford to buy a tree. And yes, I am a college graduate as well 🙁 I wonder how that 1% is enjoying Christmas?

    December 18, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • hoof hearted

      Obama has really destroyed this economy....

      December 18, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
    • ChristmasCommercial

      I am sorry to hear about your situation. I am a college grad to. PLease remember to keep hope and try to find some good cheer. 🙂

      December 18, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
    • jwas1914

      Hello guest: What we need to concern ourselves with is if this holiday is in fact a religious holiday. Does the Holy Scriptures indicate the birth of Christ being the 25th of December? How does God view such celebration? Is Jesus name being used in vain? What does Santa Clause, a Christmas tree, Frosty the Snow Man and Rain Dears have in common with Christ? Is there a link? Is Christmas a true Christian holiday? Please visit http://examinetheholyscripturesdaily.blogspot.com/ for details. Please read your Bible daily.

      December 19, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • ......

      "jwas1914"

      When ever you see this TROLL posting using their website click the report abuse link to get rid of this TROLL!

      December 19, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  15. Little Bobby

    I would like an x-rated website for Christmas! With lots of booobies!

    December 18, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
  16. Cluless in Canberra

    Is this one of those "vegina dialogues" I keep hearing about?

    December 18, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
  17. Joanne

    Sharon in NC – you have a $2,000 a month health insurance premium bill? OMG that is just horrifying! I live in Canada and I just cannot understand why so many citizens in your nation do not want to have a single payer universal health care system like we have here. Our health care system is far from perfect, but no-one is stuck paying paying 2K a month to ensure that they will be taken care of should they or their loved ones get sick. The last thing anyone living from payday to payday should be concerned with is how to pay the doctor or hospital bills. I hope things get better for you and others in your situation.

    December 18, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • VoxVerum

      Count me as one American who wants single payer. Our current system is expensive, non-portable, puts an enormous burden on employers, and rations care. How much more clear can it be?

      December 18, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
    • Dustin

      That's mostly due to the way in which it works here. Many hail to the all mighty dollar and don't want to share or help anyone else out. Our anal policy is basically, me first, maybe you later. We're not all this way, but enough are that things are more difficult than they really need to be.

      I don't have health insurance anymore, I can't afford to see a doctor. ... It's cheaper for me and many others to croak from some illness than goto a hospital as that could ruin us financially; the hospital can sue you, take you to collections, total your credit (if you have any). We have a top 1% and then we have middle class, and the poor (like most of us really. just more now that the middle class is dying out). Things are only going to continue getting worse.

      December 18, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
    • Dustin

      Ruin is in, out in the cold night on the street as you're resources are finally tapped out. Especially if you're doing payday to payday as many of us are these days. One paycheck away from the cold I says.

      December 18, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
    • onegin22

      "anal policy" LOL

      December 18, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
    • Dustin

      Heh... In these times. cynical as I am, humor is still better than bah humbug. 🙂

      December 18, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
    • Mr Chihuahua

      Anal Policy 7–The Showstopper! I saw that movie on the internet lol!

      December 18, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
  18. Angel

    Hang in there, it will get better. A few years ago, my husband and I only made 4K that year. We also had very high medical expenses, and I almost maxed out all of our charge cards. I, too, have a college degree, an MBA, but at the time it was still impossible to find a job. We're still paying off the credit cards, but there are so many people out there with worse problems than not being able to pay their bills. So what, if your creditors have to wait, don't feel ashamed it's all timing and you'll both find work and hopefully not with a bunch of jerks.

    December 18, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
  19. fwbubba

    I really don't understand how some people read this article and their only conclusion is the author is "materialistic." Heaven forbid the author and her husband want to bring a little joy to their children's Christmas...

    Tangela – Do you have contact information for the Angel Tree Foundation in Oklahoma? Some of us may be able to help... : )

    December 18, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
    • Tara

      "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." and ..." Every year, my husband (the better shopper) picks one big-ticket gift for our boys, the one we call “the Showstopper!” Seriously, how can you not judge her for being materialsitic when she bases her parental success on how big and epensive an item she can buy for her kids?!?!

      December 18, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
    • none

      The Angel Tree is through the Salvation Army.

      The link for Oklahoma City Command is http://www.salvationarmyokcac.org/ and will provide information on the program.

      918-587-7801 is the number for the Tulsa Command location for The Salvation Army which is within 10 miles of the Owasso, OK area.

      December 19, 2011 at 12:19 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Tara, did you even bother to read the article? Do you have kids? If so, do you feel no joy seeing them open gifts on Christmas?
      Furthermore, did you read what the "showstopper" actually cost? I don't think you have a clue.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:44 am |
  20. annie

    Welcome to the Non Show Stoppers Club. Who are you voting for in 2012? More Hopey Changey?

    December 18, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
    • wangfeihong

      Annie you need to go to Sudan and see what we could be like.

      December 18, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Shut up and go there yourself, you little t urd.

      December 18, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
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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.