This holiday season we at Driving Jersey decided to travel the state to connect with as many people as we could, to ask them seasonal questions, but there’s no escaping the fact that many Jerseyans and Americans are living through difficult times and the holidays would therefore be different. 

The theme, then, of our questions were of WANT and NEED.  Our intention was to find out what people wanted and what they needed, and if there is a difference.   The responses we got proved overwhelming, both in the distinction of want and need and also in the emotionality of  our subject’s desires and plans for the holidays.  Presents of possessions were low on lists and quiet together time with family and friends was the order of the day.  This year it appears many people are having themselves a merry LITTLE Christmas with hopes that next year all our troubles will, indeed, be miles away.

DRIVING JERSEY: THE HOLIDAY DRIVE was shot in Union City, Weehawken, Hoboken, Princeton, Middletown, Red Bank, Long Beach Island, Eatontown and Tinton Falls. 

SANTA CLAUS from DRIVING JERSEY: THE HOLIDAY DRIVE was inspired by DJ Director Steve Rogers’ daughter’s discovery of the reality of Santa Claus.  When asked by his daughter why we lie to kids about something as magnificent as St. Nick, Rogers turned the question on the public and discovered a variety of responses to the difficult question.  “The whole notion of a huge let-down from belief in something so trusted reminded me,” Rogers said, “of the sense of disillusionment that pervades in our society today.  Finding words of wisdom to crystallize good intentions, that would also soothe my child’s sorrow, and preserve her sense of wonder was on my mind through out.  There is inspiration and encouragement in the idea that the magic was and is always with and within us and not in the North Pole or on Wall Street.”

Enjoy SANTA CLAUS and ask yourself what if there were no Santa Claus and all the gifts to kids simply represented an expression of love from the giver. 

HARD TIMES COME AGAIN NO MORE was written over 150 years ago by Stephen Foster and as Driving Jersey contributor Jon Francis notes, "it could've been written could've been written two thousand years ago."  Its lament has been shared over the centuries by the downtrodden...and all who hear its intention surely wish that hard times would indeed come again no more, but there is also something hopeful in it...listen for's the empowerment even unto the sad and lowly that there is some hopeful power still present within that can turn away tragedy and despair simply by saying is what keeps us going.

HARD TIMES COME AGAIN NO MORE, in Foster's words, is "a sigh...a wail...a dirge” beckoning the haves to consider the have-nots and these this time of year it is a holiday carol that should be on the mind, if not on the lips of all. 

Enjoy Jon Francis’ rendition of this carol and consider the thoughts of the many who still seek mirth and beauty despite hard times.