Santa Sees the Recession in Wish Lists

It seems Santa's sleigh will be a bit lighter this year because of many families feeling the financial pinch. After all, even Jolly Old St. Nick is seeing the recession in kids' wish lists.

"I have had a couple kids who have said, 'My mama really needs a job,'" a Long Island, N.Y., Santa told

Besides jobs for their parents, three-foot-long wish lists are mostly a relic of the past.

"The children's lists are not as large. They're only asking for one or two items," said a Philadelphia-area Santa.

In his 11 years of playing Santa, he said, this year's lists have been remarkably short compared to years past.

"The parents may be talking, and kids hear a lot of what's going on sometimes that parents don't realize," he said.

A fellow Santa agreed.

"Kids are asking for less presents, in general, and more reasonable presents," said the Long Island, N.Y., Santa. "One kid said his family doesn't do things anymore like going out because it's too expensive, so he thought it would be nice to have something they could do together at home still, like play a board game."

But the Santas said children, for the most part, haven't been bah humbug about their holiday gift prospects.

"I had, the other day, [a child who] said that his mom had said that Santa may not be able to visit their house because money is so tight," one Santa said.  "He said maybe there are other kids [who] need more than I do. I tell the kids I will be remembering them, even if I don't bring special presents."

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