Donations to Globe Santa show spirit of season

 Globe Santa meets a “nice list” candidate at Faneuil Hall.
Globe Santa meets a “nice list” candidate at Faneuil Hall.

With Christmas only four days away, the Globe Santa program, in its 56th year delivering toys, books, and games to children, has received $700,000 to provide presents to 49,000 young people throughout the Greater Boston area. That’s a hefty sum, especially in a weak economy, but it’s only half of the $1.4 million needed to fully cover gifts for the 28,000 families who appealed for help this year. In the depths of the financial crisis, donations to the program actually spiked. That says something about Bostonians. This year, there is still time for donations to catch up.

The unusual thing about this year’s appeals, said Bill Connolly, the Globe Santa director who has been involved with the program in different capacities for over 40 years, is the number of families who mentioned being homeless, moving in with extended family members, or living out of hotel and motel rooms. “It’s definitely a new trend,” Connolly said. Notable too were the handful of recipients who mentioned that, just a year or two ago, they were the ones offering donations, not asking for them.

The countdown to Christmas can be stressful for those rushing to buy last-minute gifts to pile under the Christmas tree. But that anxiety doesn’t compare to the dread of knowing that your child will wake up Christmas morning without a gift from Santa. Thanks to the generosity of the Greater Boston community, that doesn’t have to happen here.