From the couch

Dear Couch,

I stepped out of my car to hear the familiar ding…ding…ding of the Salvation Army bell ringer. She hollered “Ho! Ho! Ho!” as I entered the store. It has begun; I can’t help but think about how I am going to provide a Christmas for my kids at all this year. I feel hopeless as I look into their sad eyes and explain that there won’t be much under the tree again.

Most people are happy and cheerful during the holidays. But for some less fortunate and income challenged people, it is a time of extreme stress and worry. Stretching a college budget even thinner during the holidays makes the student parent feel hopeless and sad. As a single father, do you have any suggestions for financially strapped parents?

Dear Income Challenged,

The holidays are stressful for many people but even more for the single parent who is already trying to cover the role of both parents, and that’s before trying to play Santa. Rest assured there are activities you can do to bring Christmas Spirit to your family.

Several community events are fairly inexpensive. These are usually listed in the local newspaper and can be looked up online as well. For $8.00 a carload, you can drive your family through the Festival of Lights at River Forks Park. For $1.00 per person or $2.50 per family, you can walk through the Festival of Trees at Seven Feathers Casino. In Myrtle Creek you can take your family to watch The Trucker’s Light Parade.

As far as providing your kids with presents, you can always have Christmas in January after you receive your financial aid. If you don’t receive financial aid, you can always use the option of buying gifts with your tax refund.

I hope this information is beneficial to you and your family. Remember that Christmas is a time to pull together and be thankful for what you do have.

The Mainstream is a student publication of Umpqua Community College.