Ah, the holidays! A time for reindeer, mistletoe and over-eating.
But the season isn't all comfort and joy. Gifts for family and friends, entertaining, travel--the costs pile up quickly, for all of us. And if you're one of the more than 13 million Americans who are unemployed-- especially if you're among the roughly 5.7 million who have been out of work for six months or more--even an ordinary Christmas celebration could blow your budget.
Over the summer, we asked Yahoo News readers who had been jobless for a while to tell us about their experiences. We received a flood of affecting, thought-provoking responses, which turned into a project we call Down But Not Out. Earlier this month, we teamed up with ABC News to report on the struggles of some unemployed Iowans, during the run-up to the Republican presidential caucuses.
Now we want to hear about how being unemployed is affecting your holiday celebrations this year.
Among the things we want to know:
• How are you cutting back or economizing for your holiday? Are you spending less on gifts? Staying home instead of traveling?
• If you have children, how are they reacting to the situation? Do they understand?
• Do the holidays come as a welcome period of rest and relaxation, or do they feel like just one more cause of stress?
• What are some free or low-cost ways to celebrate that you've found and want to share?
• Are there any upsides? Have you found that you've focused less on consumerism, and more on family and friends?
• What are your resolutions for 2012?
Be sure to tell us some basic details about yourself: your age, where you're from, how long you've been out of work, where you were working previously. And include any other information that gives us a sense of your situation and how you're getting by.
Unless you tell us otherwise, we may publish all or part of your email, along with your first name and the first letter of your last name.
We'll pick some of the most interesting responses, and publish them at Yahoo News and on our Down But Not Out Tumblr site, creating a portrait of how America's jobless are handling the holidays four years after the Great Recession officially began.
Click here to send us an email. And thanks, in advance, for getting in touch. We couldn't do this without you.
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