Recession has hit Venezuela during the Christmas season, and locals are blaming politicians for being unable to afford holiday traditions.

“Santa Claus isn’t coming”

An economic crisis within the country is already said to make purchasing food and other basic necessities a hardship, but Venezuelans are becoming quite vocal about the hardships present in being unable to celebrate Christmas. According to reports, many stores that would sell goods for the Christmas holiday in previous years are now either empty or closed.

While there are some stores that can be found selling toys, in addition to traditional foods and decorations, they are said to be quite expensive for many, as inflation is an ongoing issue within the country.

In addition to poverty, deadly crime has also affected the country. One woman, Dileida Palacios, who already endured losing her son to the reportedly crime-infested area in previous weeks, coined the expression “Santa Claus isn't coming,” in part to being unable to afford presents for her surviving daughter.

Reports allege that children are even starting to write letters to Santa Claus, who is traditionally called San Nicolás or Saint Nicholas, asking for him to bring food for their family. Some parents are reportedly cancelling the Christmas holiday altogether. According to polls, over a third of Venezuelans believe that this Christmas will be worse than last year's, and slightly less than that believe that it will be the worst Christmas the country has ever seen.

Political unrest has become part of the ongoing issue

President Nicolas Maduro even came under fire after recently having nearly five-million toys from a large distributor seized, leading to him being compared to a modern day Grinch at the time of the incident on social media. The importer in question, Kreisel, had been accused of hoarding and price gouging.

Reportedly, however, the toys were later said to be in distribution to be given to children.

Due to this, the president has tried to make himself into a Santa Claus figure instead, with him proclaiming that he can be seen as “Saint Nicolas without a beard; Saint Nicolas with a mustache!” on state television, according to reports. The action, even including the redistribution of the toys, however, has been criticized by some groups as an attempt to curry favor with voters.

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