Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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  Making a list: What kids really want for Christmas

Lego Santa

Today's Gazette features our annual Letters to Santa section, which makes for entertaining reading. The letters range from super-cute ("Please bring me a snowball and a bunny. I want to pat it real hard and snugggle it") to heartwarming ("Last year all I asked for Christmas was that my Gramma get better, and I got what I wanted! ... Thank you so much Santa!") to just a little bit baffling (why, for instance, does 12-year-old Torrie want a fence?)

But Letters to Santa also comes in handy if you're puzzled about what presents are "hot" these days. I'm part of a "Giving Tree" at a local church, assigned to buy gifts for an 8- to 10-year-old boy and an 8- to -10-year-old girl, age groups about which I am clueless. A look through Letters to Santa offered plenty of possibilities.

Some were out of my price range: Every preteen seems to want an iSomething - iPod, iPad, iShuffle, iPhone (or an iTunes gift card) - or games for their Xboxes or Nintendo DS video systems. But there were more modest wishes, too. Given the number of times they popped up in Letters to Santa, I figure I can't go wrong giving a Lalaloopsy doll (a newfangled rag doll with a ready-made fantasy world), or Beyblades (a Hasbro battle toy), or a Crayola Color Explosion Glow Board (way more sophisticated than plain old crayons), or the hands-down most wished-for toy among local kids, Legos.

I was heartened, too, by the letter from the Easthampton 8-year-old who is hoping for a couple of old chestnuts that I remember from my own Christmases past - an Easy-Bake Oven and a Monopoly game.

Take a look at Letters to Santa for more gift ideas.

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