Time > Christmas > Shopping, Commercialism
By Andy Singer, Politicalcartoons.com
19 November 2012
the commercialization of Christmas
Christmas > bill
The average Briton spent £2,200 on
Christmas last year UK 
http://money.guardian.co.uk/news_/story/0,,1978100,00.html - broken link
What is the meaning of Christmas?
As the big day approaches,
our own Polly Toynbee, an atheist,
goes head to head with vicar Giles Fraser
to discuss theology, heresy, Jesus and
Christmas TV adverts
Boxing day sale
Cagle cartoons > Christmas credit crunch
poor Christmas trading
last-minute Christmas bargain
Pope decries commercial glitter of
Christmas UK December 2011
Pontiff's Christmas Eve address laments
that message of Christ's birth is obscured
by a celebration of consumerism
Online Christmas shopping UK
18 November 2010
The Witchita Eagle, Kansas
7 December 2005
p. 24 23 November 2005
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
11 December 2010
In Season of Recession,
New Ways to Celebrate
December 26, 2008
The New York Times
By JENNIFER MEDINA
and KEN BELSON
No lamb this year; ham, at 89 cents a pound, was a better deal. There were
gifts, yes, but fewer than usual, and only for the children. Maybe clothes this
time around instead of a bag of toys. Somehow, the Long Island chill would have
to be made as alluring a holiday destination as the isles of the Caribbean.
It is unsurprising, perhaps, that this is the Christmas of cutbacks, what with
neighbors facing foreclosures, relatives being laid off and the endless chatter
of a recession like no other. Nearly everyone in New York City, it seemed — from
shoppers in central Brooklyn to churchgoers in the Bronx, people eating (and
volunteering) at a Harlem soup kitchen and those heading out of town from Penn
Station — had something they were doing without.
“It doesn’t feel like Christmas,” said Christine Enniss, who planned to pare her
holiday spread to the essentials: green salad, roast chicken and, maybe, potato
But as each family tried to make merry amid the misery, what stayed and went was
revealing. Sharon Parker, whose husband recently lost his job as a mechanic,
held Christmas dinner for her immediate family of five, rather than playing host
to the more than a dozen cousins and friends she usually has over. Susan
Strande, an art teacher who lives in the East Village, did her own baking rather
than buying fancy tarts and pies. O’Neil Hutchinson, an engineering consultant,
visited family in England several weeks ago to avoid the more expensive holiday
Many tried to avoid sacrificing quantity by scaling back on quality. At
Sherry-Lehmann Wine and Spirits on Park Avenue near 59th Street, sales of
Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Champagne, at $27.95 a bottle, more than doubled, to 160
cases this month, from last December. But “all the higher-end stuff is more
likely to stay on the shelves,” said Chris Adams, a partner in the store.
Mr. Adams, for his part, went to Saks Fifth Avenue on Christmas Eve to shop for
a last-minute gift for his wife, as he always does. But he stayed away from the
pricey perfumes, veering instead to the makeup counter to buy creams she might
need and would normally pick up for herself.
Of course, this cutback Christmas can also be seen as the season of the sales.
Some took advantage of bargain trips to Las Vegas resorts; others filled
shopping bags with merchandise at half price. “Everything was really cheap,”
said one woman, a bit defensively, as she boarded a train to see family in New
Jersey, laden with Bloomingdale’s bags that were teeming with red-wrapped gifts.
For the Lombardo family, Christmas Eve has always been about the Feast of the
Seven Fishes, a traditional Italian banquet.
But with business at the family’s pizzeria in Harrison, N.Y., pinched, the
Lombardos scaled back. Each of the 18 adults and seven grandchildren was served
the seven courses, but the grownups survived on one lobster tail instead of two.
The crowd shared a few dozen clams on the half shell instead of 10 dozen or
more, the shrimp cocktails were more modest, the linguini had fewer blue crabs,
and there was a bit less scungilli. There were fewer Alaskan king crab legs,
“We’re not getting a lot of businessmen taking their clients to lunch,” Sofia
Lombardo, a daughter of one of the founders, said of her family’s restaurant,
Sofia’s Pizzeria. “They just have slices instead of chicken parmesan.”
The tug of tough times also led the Lombardos to trim their gift-giving. Last
year, the adults traded “secret Santa” gifts worth about $75 each. This year,
they decided to limit each gift to $30.
Ms. Lombardo’s parents and one of her brothers did away with swapping gifts
entirely. “My family always went to the nines,” she said. “Is it weird not
opening gifts on Christmas Day? Yes. But the catering business is not where it’s
been in the last few years.”
Even with less, there were countless attempts to make Christmas as happy as it
has always been. Parents, in particular, took pains to give their children an
abundance of gifts, even while watching the price tag.
Last year, Veronica Tyms bought 30 presents for cousins, in-laws, friends and
their children. This year, she chopped her list in half and fully expected the
would-be recipients to do the same. “We didn’t have to talk about it,” said Ms.
Tyms’s friend Margaret Gregory, who joined her this week on a bargain-hunting
trip to the Target store in the Atlantic Terminal Mall in Brooklyn. “People just
Both women, however, still showered their children with presents. Ms. Gregory
ticked off the list for her 18-year-old daughter: “clothes, movies, perfume,
makeup.” Ms. Tyms bought gifts for her 8-year-old son and more than a dozen
other children of friends and relatives.
“My son still believes in Santa Claus,” she said. “I’m not ready to change that
Ed Chin of Greenwich, Conn., who landed at job at China Merchants Bank in
September after being out of work for six months, skipped the usual trip to
North Carolina to visit his in-laws and to golf, and he canceled his family’s
traditional Champagne brunch. Rather than expensive gifts for each of their four
children, ages 9 to 14, Mr. Chin and his wife, Julie, bought an Xbox video game
console for them to share.
“Even people in Greenwich have to tighten up,” Ms. Chin said of her wealthy
hometown. “This is not the time to spend money on this kind of stuff.”
Dominic Giangrasso, who runs the computer systems at ConEdison Solutions, hooked
up a Web camera to his flat-panel television so that his pregnant daughter, who
lives in Massachusetts, could watch Christmas dinner at his home in Westchester
County rather than spend money on traveling there.
The Rev. Jos Kandathikudy, the priest at St. Thomas Syro Malabar Catholic Church
in the Bronx, said that last year he walked from the rectory through the
neighborhood to admire the fanciful decorations. This year, he said, the streets
were mostly dark.
“Businesses and residences both; I think people just want to and need to save
money — everything is reduced,” he said. “But this is not the meaning of
Christmas. It is not about lights and presents.”
Father Kandathikudy was one of many ministers to preach about how the tough
economic times could help people focus on the religious meaning of Christmas.
One parishioner at the Church of the Ascension on West 107th Street simply
handed over $500 to the Rev. John Duffell last week, saying only that someone
needed it more than he did.
And at the Church of Saint Raymond on Castle Hill Avenue in the Bronx, one altar
girl had trimmed her wish list.
“My daughter understood that things were difficult this year,” said Maria
Gonzalez, 40, as she walked into the noon Mass at the church, beaming as her
daughter, Jessica Garcia, led the processional. “She loves music and has worked
so hard to practice, so all she wanted was a keyboard. She wants to play music
to serve God, and I want to help her in that.”
Ralph Blumenthal and Kareem Fahim contributed reporting.
In Season of Recession,
New Ways to Celebrate,
Well, that's Christmas out of the way.
Time now for
some serious shopping
December 27, 2006
Sam Coates and Marcus Leroux
Busiest week is just beginning
Luxury goods fuelling the trend
It took just five hours before the magic of
Christmas Day had worn off and British shoppers had once again embraced their
Yesterday Britons engaged in the biggest hunt for presents for themselves,
besieging high streets and shopping centres across the country at the start of a
three-week, £5.2 billion spending bonanza.
They are expected to spend even more money after Christmas than before, with the
largest stores predicting that their busiest days of the year would come between
now and January.
With some stores starting their online sales on Christmas Day, and others
offering discounts of up to 75 per cent, this year looks likely to be one of the
best for consumers for several years.
Selfridges in Oxford Street, Central London, said that record numbers came
through the doors yesterday, with 2,000 people queueing from 5am. The Trafford
Centre in Manchester was visited by an estimated 130,000 bargain-hunters, 10,000
up on last year’s high.
Shoppers have already defied predictions of a lacklustre Christmas after two
rises in interest rates, consumer debt and sharp rises in energy bills.
John Lewis said that Christmas sales hit £94.3 million, an all-time high, while
the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham said that Christmas sales had grown
0.6 per cent, with average spending increasing by 10 per cent.
Heavy discounting of luxury items is fuelling the trend — yesterday the first
item bought at Selfridges in Birmingham was a Chloé Betty bag, reduced from £939
to £469. At the chain’s store in Oxford Street, managers opened half an hour
early to enable the hordes to get to the discounted Gucci and Louis Vuitton
Victoria Mackey, who left Wales at 5am to reach Sel- fridges in Oxford Street,
said: “We came last year and I saved more than £800 on handbags and shoes on the
regular price. I’m hoping to get some good bargains again.”
Sally Goodwood, 18, a fashion student from Ilford, Essex, said that the Oxford
Street sales were “worth every single elbow in the rib”. She said: “I got a pair
of Bertie boots reduced from £195 to £91 and a pair of Diesel jeans I have been
debating buying for ages reduced from £100 to £60.”
Tom Denison, a psychologist from SPSL, the retail analysts, said that, despite
the moaning from traditionalists about the commercialisation of Boxing Day, the
post-Christmas sales frenzy was driven by consumers buying for themselves with
“The fact that more retailers are opening on Boxing Day means that others have
traded well in the past. It’s driven by people’s behaviour. That’s different
from the people who are scavenging for bargains and trying to get as much as
possible for as little as possible.”
He added that discounts in the luxury sector were making a significant
difference to the post-Christmas rush.
At Selfridges in the Bullring centre, Ruth Delany, 32, from Moseley, Birmingham,
saved more than £1,000 when she spent £2,033 on designer handbags and shoes. “I
left home at seven this morning and I was first in the queue at the Gucci
counter — I couldn’t wait to get started,” she said.
While 90 per cent of outlets in shopping centres opened yesterday, a few —
including Marks & Spencer and all John Lewis stores apart from Manchester — were
holding back their opening for today. Half a million people are likely to visit
the West End today.
The Bluewater shopping centre in Kent attracted 75,000 people yesterday, but is
expecting three times as many today.
The situation in England and Wales now all but mirrors Scotland, where Boxing
Day has been a normal shopping day for many years.
'Our car park was maxed out'
“Our busiest period is actually the week after
Christmas. This year we estimate that over 900,000 people will visit Bluewater
in the week ending January 1”
Matt Clements, executive general manager of Bluewater
Bargain Canon PowerShot A710 digital camera
which was £229 but has been slashed to £150 at Jessops
“The car parks are 85 per cent full. It looks
promising and by the end of the day we expect between 80,000 and 90,000 people
to have visited here”
Mohammad Dajani, centre director
Bargain A 42in Panasonic TV reduced from £1,299 to £899 at Currys
Trafford Centre, Manchester
“It has been a slower start to the Christmas
period, but once started people have definitely had money to spend — and have
been spending a terrific amount”
Bargain A Miss Sixty V-neck dress, down to £21 from £70 at USC
Castle Court, Belfast
“Our sales were up 3 per cent in the run-up to
Christmas and that looks to be continuing. Our car park was completely maxed out
between 1pm and 3pm and many stores had a queue outside them before they opened”
Caroline Magee, marketing manager, Castle Court
Bargain Debenhams had 70 per cent off home furniture
“We’ve been busy all day and had lots of
people queueing this morning. Our star departments have been men’s and
womenswear where we’ve got up to 85 per cent off selected items.”
Alan Thomlinson, assistant store manager
Bargain Linea suit: £15 down from £120 — sold out by lunchtime
that's Christmas out of the way. Time now for some serious shopping,
Stores look to post-Christmas
not as robust as expected
4:46 PM ET
The Associated Press
Bargain hunters and latecomers
flocked to stores this weekend as the retail industry made its last big push for
pre-Christmas sales with increased discounts and other come-ons.
But the late-buying binge was not
enough to meet sales goals, and retailers are now turning to post-Christmas
business to make this season a merry one, according to one report from a
national research company.
"These were big days, but they came up short in terms of traffic and sales,"
said Bill Martin, co-founder of ShopperTrak RCT Corp., a research firm,
referring to this past Friday and Saturday. ShopperTrak monitors total retail
sales at more than 45,000 outlets.
After a stronger-than-expected turnout on Black Friday, the day after
Thanksgiving, stores struggled through the first two weeks of December as
consumers shopped at a disappointing pace.
Mild temperatures throughout most of the country didn't inspire shoppers to buy
winter items. And with Christmas falling on a Monday, the season became another
nail biter for retailers as consumers procrastinated with a full weekend to shop
before the holiday.
"This is the best time in the world to shop," said Chuck Mingrone of East Haven,
Conn., who was leaving a Bath & Body Works stores on Sunday at the Westfield
Connecticut Post Mall in Milford, Conn., on Sunday, the day before Christmas. He
said he expects to do all of his holiday shopping in two hours.
"I do it every year like this," Mingrone continued. "There are no lines and
everyone is smiling. Every year, my family makes fun of me for doing this, but
they are the ones who are frantic in lines."
Others were forced to shop late for lack of time or because they hadn't been in
"I don't know. Christmas just crept up on me this year," said Aimee Lovan of Des
Moines, who was at the Valley West Mall in West Des Moines. "And also the
weather. It's been so warm so I haven't been in a Christmas mood."
Based on data released late Sunday by ShopperTrak, sales for both Friday and
Saturday generated a combined $16.2 billion, with Saturday's business generating
$8.72 billion. But Martin expected Saturday's sales volume to surpass Black
Friday's sales, which posted $8.96 billion.
Based on the weekend's sales results, Martin estimated that holiday sales are so
far up 4.3%, short of the 5% forecast.
"We still have the week after Christmas," said Martin. "We are going to need a
lot of gift card redemptions." Gift cards are only recorded on a retailers'
balance sheet until the cards are redeemed.
This holiday season, consumers shopped early for flat-panel TVs, hot toys like
T.M.X. Elmo and new consoles such as Sony's Playstation3, but held off on
apparel, creating a mixed holiday picture.
Bright spots have been the online business and luxury stores. But many
mall-based apparel chains were challenged by increased competition from
department stores such as Federated Department Stores Inc.'s Macy's and J.C.
Penney Co., which are benefiting from industry consolidation and fresh fashions.
Still, many mall-based stores kept to their promotional calendar throughout the
season, refusing to buckle down to shoppers' pressure for the best deal. This
past weekend, stores slashed prices to tempt shoppers to buy, though Marshal
Cohen, chief analyst at the NPD Group, a market research company in Port
Washington, N.Y., said that most merchants still weren't "panicking." Stores are
realizing the holiday season also includes January, he said.
But, some stores were pulling out all the stops. Gap Inc., which has been
languishing, took additional markdowns on everything from T-shirts to hooded
sweatshirts and jean jackets at its namesake stores. Long-sleeve T-shirts were
slashed to $9.99,from $24.50 at a Gap store in Manhattan.
Those who delayed shopping saw big benefits in waiting.
Retired school principal Carol Beck, now of Durham, N.C., was doing most of her
holiday shopping Sunday and finished in about 30 minutes. She said she spent
$150 and bought most things at 50% off.
Other shoppers were already done, but came to the mall Sunday to see if any
other items struck their fancy.
"I buy extra gifts just in case I forget people," said Mina Singzon from Los
Angeles, who was at the Glendale Galleria in Glendale, Calif. "That happens
Taubman Centers Inc., which operates or owns 23 malls in 11 states, reported
that business, based on a sampling of malls, was tracking up mid-single digit
percentage increases for the week ended Saturday compared with a year ago. On
Saturday, sales were up anywhere from mid-single to low-double digit increases
from a year ago.
Billie Scott, spokeswoman at Simon Property Group, which owns or operates 175
malls in 38 states, said that half of the malls that were sampled reported
traffic and business on Saturday was about the same as the previous Saturday;
the other half said traffic was lighter, though spending was up.
Santa Monica, Calif.-based Macerich Co., which operates 80 malls nationwide,
reported that traffic was up 36% in the week ended Saturday from the previous
Kathleen Waugh, spokeswoman at Toys "R" Us said this past week was
"exceptionally strong, " particularly on Saturday.
Meanwhile, a late buying binge online helped online retailers surpass holiday
sales forecasts, according to comScore Networks. Online spending from Nov. 1
through Wednesday reached $21.68 billion, marking a 26% increase compared to the
corresponding year-ago period. The results exclude travel, auctions and
corporate purchases. ComScore expected holiday sales to rise 24%.
The final days before Christmas and post-holiday business, boosted in party by
gift cards redemptions, have becoming increasingly important for retailers.
According to BigResearch, which conducted a poll for the National Retail
Federation, consumers are expected to spend a total of $24.81 billion on gift
cards this holiday season, up from $18.48 billion in the year-ago period.
Jason Cameron from West Haven, Conn., bought some American Eagle gift cards for
his sisters and girlfriend on Sunday.
"They're quick and people can get whatever they want," he said.
Now, stores need Cameron's sisters and girlfriend to redeem them quickly.
Stores look to post-Christmas sales,
business not as robust as expected, UT, 24.12.2006,
catches families even amid
10:51 AM ET
By Wendy Koch
FALLS CHURCH, Va. — Christine Fuller finds holiday kindness
at unexpected moments, such as before sunrise at a bus stop 7 miles from the
A bus driver sees her switching buses each weekday morning
at 6:15 with four neatly dressed children, ages 6 to 10, as she escorts them to
a before-school program. The driver lauds their behavior and says he wants to
give each child a Christmas present.
Fuller doesn't know his name. He doesn't know hers. She says presents would be
The bus driver also doesn't know that Fuller and her children are homeless.
They've been living at a shelter since September. Fuller has a full-time job
that pays her $23,000 a year but says she can't afford an apartment in this
affluent suburb of Washington, D.C., where a typical two-bedroom apartment rents
for $1,225 a month.
The problem of poverty and homelessness — and how difficult it is to escape — is
poignantly illustrated in the hit movie The Pursuit of Happyness, which stars
Will Smith and his son, Jaden.
At least 2 million Americans, many of whom have jobs and families, are homeless
at some point over the course of a year, says Philip Mangano, executive director
of the White House's Interagency Council on Homelessness.
"It's very traumatic for children," Mangano says.
It can be particularly so in a place like Falls Church and surrounding Fairfax
County, one of the nation's wealthiest areas with a median household income of
Fuller, 32, tries to ward off any trauma by focusing on routines and maintaining
dignity in tough circumstances.
Her day starts at 3:45 a.m., in the two-bedroom, 300-square-foot unit her family
occupies at Shelter House, a county facility that can house seven families.
Fuller gets ready for her job as a dispatch assistant at a courier service, then
at 5 a.m. wakes her boys, William, 10, and Isaiah, 7. After she gets them going,
she rouses the girls, Beatrice, 8, and Jhavona, 6.
"Mom, our life is so boring," she says the kids tell her. "You sound like a
They're out the door by 5:45 a.m. with a snack in hand to catch the first public
bus. They switch buses before arriving at a before-school program that opens at
6:30 a.m. The kids have subsidized breakfast and lunch at school.
"My 7-year-old knows every bus route," says Fuller, sitting on a vinyl couch in
her unit's small living area.
After dropping off the kids, she boards another bus to get to her job, which she
has held for three years, by 7:30 a.m. She works until 5 p.m. and then takes a
bus to pick up her kids at an after-school program. She pays $177 monthly for
the child care. The unsubsidized cost for four kids in similar programs in
Fairfax County is $1,500.
Being homeless during the holidays can be particularly grim, but this month
Fuller and her children have received several gifts from charitable residents,
from dolls to firetrucks to a microwave oven. Such gifts reflect both the
generosity of individuals and the same community wealth that has hindered
Fuller's ability to find her own place to live.
"Apartments cost a lot here," says Fuller, a never-married high school dropout
who has six children in all. The two oldest — a 16-year-old boy and a
14-year-old girl — live with a family friend in a nearby town and are in their
high school's marching band.
Fuller says she can't move to a more affordable city or distant suburb because
her job is near downtown Washington and she has no car. Despite the difficulty
of living in such an expensive area, she's also reluctant to go elsewhere
because she grew up here, and her mother and grandparents live nearby.
Fuller receives child support from the father of one of her children. She
doesn't know where one of the fathers is, and another helps out with child care
on weekends. But when it comes to finances, she's largely on her own.
Families without homes
Families with children make up about 40% of the nation's homeless people,
according to a USA TODAY analysis of government data. Those in homeless families
represent about 55% of the roughly 2,000 homeless people in Fairfax, which has
about 1 million residents.
More than half the single homeless adults in Fairfax are white, while 65% of
those in homeless families are African-American, according to a county report
released this month.
Two of every five homeless adults in Fairfax works, says Gerry Connolly,
chairman of the county Board of Supervisors. "A lot of people benefit from our
vibrant economy, but others are cut out," he says. He cites the loss of hundreds
of affordable housing units during the recent real estate boom.
"When you meet the (homeless) children, your heart breaks," Connolly says,
"because they haven't done anything to deserve it."
He says Fairfax, like many jurisdictions across the nation, has stepped up
efforts to find more places for the homeless to stay, either through their
friends and relatives or churches, motels and shelters. It doesn't always work.
He says some people live in their cars.
"We've even had people living in the woods under tarps," he says.
For most of her life, Fuller lived with her grandparents in a three-bedroom
house in nearby Arlington County. When the grandparents moved to a two-bedroom
apartment in Arlington, officials said it was too small for Fuller and her
children to also live there, so she spent six months in a shelter. She moved
into a three-bedroom basement apartment in Fairfax County, but officials there
deemed it a fire hazard.
Fuller and her four youngest children then spent three months in a motel room
paid for by Fairfax County before a unit became available at Shelter House.
"We're helping the working homeless," shelter director Joe Meyer says.
The children "know this isn't their own place," Fuller says. They can't invite
kids over for play dates or birthday parties. She adds that like many youths who
struggle to cope with the trauma of being homeless, her children have suffered
from mood swings, depression and other problems.
"I know I have to better myself for my kids," she says. She tells her kids to
"stay in school, … stay out of jail, stay out of trouble."
Fuller says when she sees her 14-year-old daughter, she warns her: "Don't make
the mistakes I made" by, among other things, getting pregnant while in high
At Shelter House, government workers make sure homeless families get food stamps
as well as benefits from Medicaid and mental health and social services
agencies. Parents such as Fuller must attend evening workshops on parenting,
alcohol and drug awareness, financial planning and job-seeking skills.
Families are expected to stay no more than three months, but they can stay
longer if they have no other housing options and make progress toward
self-sufficiency, Meyer says. He says Fuller's family will be able to stay until
she can get a subsidized apartment.
"They've been a great help," Fuller says. She initially chafed at the shelter's
10 p.m. curfew and visitor restrictions, but says she's learning to manage money
better and pay off $5,000 in credit card debt.
Fuller says she's not buying Christmas toys for her children, only necessities.
Sometimes they tease her, calling her "the Grinch."
Fairfax board Chairman Connolly's concern about the impact of homelessness on
families is reflected in the waiting list for the 32 units the county has
available at Shelter House and two other facilities. The list is approaching 90
A report released last week by the U.S. Conference of Mayors that analyzed
homelessness in 23 cities said that in most of the cities, some homeless
families have to split up in order to find shelter.
"This is just unacceptable," says Trenton, N.J., Mayor Douglas Palmer, the
The Conference of Mayors report says requests for shelter rose 9% last year in
the 23 cities surveyed.
Housing affordability is the top problem, says Dennis Culhane, a University of
Pennsylvania professor of social welfare policy. He says the government needs to
use tax credits to push more investors and developers to build affordable
apartments. He says it's much cheaper to give a housing subsidy to a homeless
family than to put the family in a shelter, which can cost $50,000 for a
Mangano says federal spending on housing subsidies has risen in recent years,
but the number of available units hasn't increased because of rising real estate
Adding holiday cheer
While communities struggle to find solutions for homelessness, people such as
Ginger Mahon are helping make the lives of homeless families a little better
this time of the year by playing Santa.
Mahon, a PTA president in Great Falls, Va., a half-hour drive from Shelter
House, asked her neighbors to "adopt" a homeless family for Christmas. She asked
several shelters for wish lists of items that homeless people wanted and matched
them with donors.
The Fullers are receiving not only a microwave but also an air hockey table, a
$100 Target gift card, a blanket, pots, pans and dinnerware. Other families at
the shelter are getting presents, including hundreds of dollars in gift cards.
"During the holidays, the community really reaches out," says Meyer, the
shelter's director. He says people wanted to donate iPods last year, but he
reminded them that shelter residents don't have computers to download songs.
On Thursday, Ted Smith, the bus driver who sees Fuller and her children each
weekday, gave the kids huge bags of toys that he and his wife had bought. "You
do good in school and thank the Lord for all you have," he told the youngsters.
Fuller says Beatrice and Jhavona had wanted dolls, and Isaiah asked for
firetrucks. William wanted a Sony PlayStation 3, which costs at least $600, but
he knew his mom couldn't afford it.
Fuller says William told her: "All I really want for Christmas is our own
catches families even amid affluence,
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