OH TANNENBAUM: Recession Hits North Pole

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ABC NEWS: In the movies, the life of Santa Claus is all about the North Pole and sleigh bells. But in real life, this year, Santa’s riding the New Jersey Transit trains and New York City subways. Even Santa doesn’t have job security this season, as many businesses cut back. John Hauck, 71, dons the traditional red suit and commutes two-and-half-hours from Pennsylvania to New York, because, like most businesses these days, even the Santa business is struggling. For the past five years, Hauck has worked at the local Granite Run Mall in Delaware County, Pa., but he was laid off when the mall had to cut back on Santas from its holiday display. “I worked four days a week, 10-hour days, full days,” he said. “I counted on that money every year. It’s gone now.” To make up for the lack of work, Hauck commutes into New York. “I’m coming to New York to make what I can and I’m doing whatever I can,” Hauck said. “I’m doing some tree-lighting stuff and some private parties and things.” MORE

jesusontheradiocropped.jpgRELATED: When Baby Jesus disappeared last year from a Nativity scene on the lawn of the Wellington, Fla., community center, village officials didn’t follow a star to locate him. A GPS device mounted inside the life-size ceramic figurine led sheriff’s deputies to a nearby apartment, where it was found face down on the carpet. An 18-year-old woman was arrested in the theft. Giving up on old-fashioned padlocks and trust, a number of churches, synagogues, governments and ordinary citizens are turning to technology to protect holiday displays from pranks or prejudice. About 70 churches and synagogues eager to avoid the December police blotter jumped at a security company’s offer of free use of GPS systems and hidden cameras this month to guard their mangers and menorahs. MORE

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