When I was a kid, my mom called holidays like these "light Christmases." For whatever reason — an unexpected expense, a lost job — there would be fewer presents under the tree.
My brother and I never took this too hard. We understood that our parents did the best they could with the little they had, and that they loved us.
This year, few of us have escaped the hard times that have descended upon our country. But certainly, it's worst for those people living in tents in the heart of our city. Many of them once had solid jobs and homes to live in, before something went terribly wrong.
In the good years, it was easy for many people to shrug off the homeless and say they were lazy or reckless. Now, staring at the haunting eyes of men and women walking our streets with nowhere to go (see the cover story here), many of us gulp at the knowledge that we're just a missed paycheck or two away from joining them.
This Christmas will be a light one for a lot of us, but let's not forget there's still plenty to be grateful for.
And let's keep in mind that for some families, Christmas will be little more than another day of shivering in the cold and dreaming of better times.