Does Santa Claus really come to the ghetto?

When you have plenty, it is easy to forget that many individuals have very little or nothing at all. The old classic song by Carlene Davis is a real scenario where children see Christmas celebrated in abundance on their television but know their own reality is in stark contrast. They see ham, turkey, rice and peas and the works all laid out on those long, beautiful dining table while they know that bag juice and a cheez trix will be their dinner as they sit on the floor.

Feeling the Christmas spirit

So, if you live in the inner-city, which we commonly refer to as the ‘ghetto’,  how festive is your holiday? Just how much Christmas spirit do you get? And indeed, does Santa Claus ever visit the children in those communities?

On TV, Santa Claus is usually a bearded man who comes bearing gifts.

A lot of times parents who live in poverty rely on the hand of charity to cover some basic things. So when it comes to back to school time, a businessman who is affiliated with the area because he has a wholesale or a hardware store nearby, may put on a treat and the children receive uniforms, backpacks, shoes and exercise books.

It is the same thing when it comes to December. Santa Claus comes in the form of a local business entity or person, a deejay or artistes who grew up in the community and made it out or the church that is situated in the heart of the community. They stage a treat to ensure that the most vulnerable – the children, the disabled and the elderly – are taken care of.

Rare treat

Presents are gift wrapped and most try to ensure that every child gets at least one gift. But unlike a regular home in which the present is specifically tailored to the child’s wishes or what they have been begging for all year, gifts disbursed at a Christmas treat is exactly that – a rare treat. The handy helper who wraps the gifts has no idea exactly who will get what gift, so on the outside of the wrapping there is generally an indicator of what age and gender child the gift is ideal for.

At treats in Jamaica, Santa’s bag might be a bit smaller than the one seen in movies.

Santa might be a businessman

Occasionally, ‘Santa’, as in someone dressed up in the red, ‘fat’ suit makes an appearance. But even if he does not and the gifts are disbursed by kindly old ladies, politicians, artistes or staff members from a corporate entity, the children usually get over their initial disappointment in short order as the joy of receiving something outweighs his ‘no-show’. Such is the gratitude generally expressed by those who have very little versus those who have every toy, game and electronic device at their disposal.

Those who usually do without, tend to be more careful while those with that sense of entitlement which generally comes with money, know that if they break it today, it will be replaced tomorrow. For others, what you get today, had better last you for a long time, as you know not when more is coming.

So yes, sometimes Santa does come to the ghetto, but his bag of goodies is usually a little lighter, may be a little less exciting. And after having hundreds of children reaching towards him with arms stretched forth in earnest, it tends to be a little more heartfelt.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of BUZZ or its employees.