Shawn Slonsky's children know by now not to give him Christmas lists filled with the latest gizmos.
The 44-year-old union electrician is one of nearly 2 million Americans whose extended unemployment benefits will run out this month, making the holiday season less about celebration than survival.
"We'll put up decorations, but we just don't have the money for a Christmas tree," Slonsky said.
Benefits that had been extended up to 99 weeks started running out on Wednesday.
Unless Congress approves a longer extension, the Labour Department estimates about 2 million people will be cut off by Christmas.
Image: In this photo taken on November 22, 2010, Frank Wallace, who is unemployed, displays a sign during a "Vigil for the Unemployed" at the Arch Street Methodist Church in Philadelphia.
Text: Tom Breen, AP
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