December 11th, 2011
10:16 AM ET

Letters to the President #1056: 'See you at the mall'

Reporter's Note: Writing all of these letters to the president would have been harder with a quill and parchment paper. But then, once you get beyond a thousand, it’s kind of a work out anyway.

Dear Mr. President,

Things are getting crazy busy around our house with the holidays bearing down. I don’t know if there is a war on Christmas like some folks claim, but I tell you I may start one if I have to find a parking spot at the mall too many more times. Ha! Just kidding. I actually love the season, but it can be a tad trying on one’s patience.

I think I’ve asked you this before but I can’t remember if you answered: Do you do any Christmas shopping anymore? (Actually, I know you didn’t answer because you never answer any of my letters, but I’m trying to be polite.) If not, I think you should. You know why? Because few things can bring you more in touch with the economic realities of the times.

Christmas shopping locks millions of us in that dreadful vise formed by our hope, wishes and aspirations; and brutal, fiscal truth. Parents all across the land must decide between what they’d like to buy for their kids, and what is reasonable. Husbands and wives must temper their most exciting ideas with practicality. People from coast to coast must balance their wish list on the scales with the mortgage payment.

Now, to be honest, I’m not sure we’ve done a very good job at this for some years. We’ve probably spent too much money, been too lavish in our giving, and focused far too intently on the commercial side of the holiday. That makes it harder to reel ourselves in now.

But my point stands. If you want to understand how the economy is (and is not) working for average folks, slap on a fake mustache and a baseball hat, head to the mall, and spend a day shopping like an average American. More importantly, watch how the actual, average Americans are dealing with the task. Don’t tell me that you don’t have time. You, like every other president, have made it to plenty of multi-million dollar fundraisers to make your future good. Now come see how everyone else is trying to raise funds, just to make the holidays bright for a few days.


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Filed under: Letters to the President • Opinion • President Barack Obama • T1 • Tom Foreman
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