The Daily ItemThere was an editorial in a national magazine a few weeks back about the way our holidays have suddenly segued almost too seamlessly from one to the other.Halloween hasn’t even taken place and already we’re talking about Thanksgiving. Department stores are decorating for Christmas somewhere around mid-October.Some radio stations started playing Christmas music well before Thanksgiving, and the leftovers weren’t even picked clean before houses throughout the area were festooned with boughs of holly.It’s easy to get swept up in it. It’s easy to be sick of before December even begins (as some people insist they are). And it’s easy to watch commercial after commercial from jewelry outlets trying to convince people that thousand-dollar diamonds are the only way to a woman’s heart.Well, as they used to say in your high school and college exams, compare and contrast. Compare all of the above to the family that can’t even afford to feed and clothe its kids, never mind afford a pendant from the jewelry store.”I am a single mother, and working hard to provide for my children,” the letter to Item Santa reads. “Because I only have one income to support my family, I am having difficulty affording toys for my children during this holiday season.”One would suspect life’s necessities aren’t exactly easy for this family to come by either.This is why we’re into the 41st year of Item Santa, who bridges the gap between basic necessities and the type of Christmases we all knew and loved as children.”Any assistance you can give me and my family would be greatly appreciated,” the letter goes on. “Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.”It’s a humbling experience to ask for help. It’s humbling to admit that no matter how hard you try, you just can give your children the Christmas you know they deserve.We all sit and scratch our heads and wonder how we’re going to be able to buy presents for everyone. Should we get the iPod shuffle for the nephew, or perhaps a GPS system instead.But in the middle of all this purchasing, while we’re standing in line and starting to get impatient because it’s moving so slowly, maybe we can think of this mother, who’d be happy if she could get her child just one thing that isn’t a necessity.To make a donation to Item Santa, clip the coupon in today’s Item or download one and mail it, along with your check, to The Item Salvation Army Santa, P.O. Box 951, Lynn, MA 01903.The Salvation Army will be distributing gifts to needy families Dec. 10-13.For more information, call the Salvation Army at 781-598-0673.

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