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ALL CHILDREN LIVING IN VALATIE GET A GIFT FROM SANTA CLUB

All children age 10 or younger living in this village south of Albany get a present every year. And if they have friends or relatives visiting for the holidays, those youngsters get gifts too.

It's all courtesy of the Valatie Santa Club, which for more than four decades has assured that every child has something at Christmas. The club, started by a dozen local veterans after World War II, on Christmas Eve welcomed Santa on a horse-drawn wagon, then ferried him around town on a fire engine as a caravan of club members followed in cars with some 600 gift packages.

Every child gets a stocking that would look familiar to the first post-war recipients: a box of candied popcorn, hard Christmas candy, cola, and a more modern plaything such as a toy or a chess set or a book. "Lots of books," Dominic Lizzi said. "We try to stress the educational aspect. No Nintendo (computer game) stuff."

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