(NNPA)—Dear Gwendolyn: My husband was recently laid off from his job. We had hoped he would be recalled, but that hope has now faded. The company he was working for has closed. Two weeks ago we had a long discussion about what our children would receive for Christmas. My husband came to the conclusion they will receive nothing—not this year. He said we would put up a tree. My neighbor has a farm and each year he lets us cut a tree from there.


I know our budget is low, but I would still like to see my children with toys. We have an 8-year- old, 5-year-old and a 2 months old. I asked my husband not to talk with the children until I hear back from you. What do you think Gwendolyn? Would it matter if they got no toys?—Patricia

Dear Patricia: Of course it matters, especially to the 8-year-old and 5-year-old. Let me tell you this: Toys are extremely expensive. I suggest you purchase toys that are not electronic. Those toys run in the hundreds of dollars. During the months of November and December, a mass of toys are given by organizations, churches, and private donations. Check to see when charity groups are giving out toys in your area. Put your children’s name on the lists. By receiving large-priced gifts from organizations, that will allow you and your husband to purchase cheaper priced items. I also suggest that you plan a special dinner for Christmas Day. Bake a cake so that the house can have the aroma of holiday cheer. Let the children participate in putting a slice of cake on the table for Santa.

Patricia, think about it. Give your children a happy childhood regardless to the economy. They will never forget the joy they had on Christmas 2012. Childhood is free of adult responsibilities. But as they grow into adulthood, they too will experience the troubles of this world, so—make them happy now.

(Got a problem, email Gwen at: gwenbaines@hotmail.com or write to her at P.O. Box 10066, Raleigh, NC 27605-0066. To receive a reply, send a self-addressed stamped envelope. Visit her website at: http://www.gwenbaines.com.)

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