I came across something yesterday that absolutely crushed me. It was series of tweets of very earnest letters written by kids to Santa, received and shared by the U.S. Postal Service. One kid wrote to Santa: "I would really like a couch that is also a bed." She explained that her family lives in a one-bedroom apartment and her parents sleep on the living room couch, which isn't great for her dad's back. Another kid pleaded for Santa to give his parents money, "$100 would help a lot, they're having a rough time with the bills."
Instead of asking for the PS5 or a new bike, many of these kids are asking for necessities: money for rent, clothes that fit, a power wheelchair (that actually works). Reading the letters feels like this rare window into the lives of children, who we often hear about when talking about the pandemic, but don't hear directly from.
I'm not a parent myself, but I've wondered with more families experiencing financial hardships this year, what the impact will be on children. I talked with one parenting expert who told me that families shouldn't necessarily shy away from talking about money or work, but should make clear that it's not the child's responsibility to help. That's not to say though that they won't feel that impulse anyway.
In any case, after scrolling through the letters, I learned that you can sign up to send a kid a gift. I'm planning to do that and if you want to too, you can find instructions here.