Give a little bit ...
As a result, even charities are struggling.
But it's not just the Christmas-celebrating families who are in trouble. Many new Canadians from other cultures are also finding it hard to make ends meet.
War, terrorism and a better way of life for his wife and children moved Saadad Hussain Malik to leave his native Pakistan and bring his family to Canada.
Malik, wife Shahzadi Sadaf, and daughters Bakeezah, 15, Sunaina, 9, Malaika, 7, and son Abdul Moize, 4, arrived in Toronto last year, after five painfully long years of waiting for immigration clearance.
But Malik believes it was all worth it, despite the fact the family is struggling financially after he was laid off his job almost a year ago.
"We are happy in this country," Malik said. "My children are doing well in school and are very happy. My daughter (Bakeezah) finished near the top of her class in Grade 9."
One of the things that impressed him about Canada was the gifts his children received last Christmas from the Star Santa Fund. The children were among 45,000 in the GTA who received gift boxes from the fund.
"I thought it was a wonderful way to welcome people to this country," Malik said.
The children were excited and will be asking about the gifts again this year, he said. He was under the wrong impression they were eligible to receive gifts only once, but was pleased to hear no such restriction exists as long as the family is still financially needy.
Malik came to Canada as a telecommunications engineer with three degrees and supervisory experience with a major company in Pakistan. But he could only find a lower-level job here in his field and was eventually let go. He has been trying unsuccessfully for jobs since. He thought one might materialize in Alberta, but though the company indicated strong interest the offer ultimately fell through.
This year, the fund, with the help of staffers who volunteer as elves, is delivering gift boxes to 45,000 kids in the GTA. Each box contains a book, candy, winter woolies and a toy suitable to the age and gender of the recipient.
Won't you please help light up a child's holiday season with a few dollars to the Star's 103 year-old Santa Claus Fund?
Just a little can mean so much.
After all, the spirit of Christmas is not supposed to be about the latest electronic doodad but about giving, and sharing.
In fact, rather than spend the usual storm on the kidlets in my life, who have so so so much, I'm going to be making donations in their names. I hope you join me.