For the first time since the “Santa Claus’ Post Office” opened two decades ago, children in recession-hit Greece not only asked for new toys, but also for a warm jacket or a job for unemployed dad.
Officials at the headquarters of Hellenic Post in Athens where thousands letters sent to Santa Claus’ home are collected in special red boxes were left speechless this week, as they read a letter that was more like a list for the supermarket than a typical Christmas letter.
“Dear Santa Claus, this year I want you to bring me two baby pampers, milk, a pacifier, a purple brush and a job for my sister,” wrote an elementary school pupil from the southern Aegean island of Crete whose named was Maria.
Traditionally Christmas means fun for children, but amidst deep recession, for many families in debt-laden Greece this festival season will be different as major cuts in salaries and emergency taxes don’t leave margins for many gifts and expenses.
This year many kids write to Santa Claus with the hope that he can find jobs for their parents or give money for everyday needs during the holidays instead of sending expensive dolls.