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Memo to: Santa Claus

From: The kids of Western New York

Regarding: The condition of your sleigh

Comments: Better make sure it's super reinforced this year.

Santa, old boy, the kids who read NeXt have electronic gadgets -- all different kinds of them -- at the top of their Christmas lists this year, and those presents are going to weigh you and your reindeer down!

With just a day to go before you make your rounds, you'd better have your on-staff elf mechanic make sure the sleigh can deliver all the CD players, boom boxes, Nintendo equipment and computers that kids have put at the top of their Christmas wish lists.

Or, Santa, you are going to be one unpopular dude in this part of the country!

When we asked NeXt's readers to let us know what they wanted for Christmas, the phone started ringing off the hook with Christmas wish lists galore. Many, many lists also were mailed to the NeXt desk.

And what we learned from all this is that even if kids don't have to time to finish their homework or clean their rooms, they sure find the time to write out their Christmas lists!

Andrew Chaffee, a sixth-grader at Emmet Belknap Middle School in Lockport, represented the wishes of many when he wrote: "I want a computer for Christmas because I really like them. The second thing I want is an airplane, because I have wanted one for a very, very long time. The last thing I want is a video game for Sega."

A fourth-grade class from Campus East School sent a wish list that ranged from a trip to Disney World, to the Clueless diary, Sony Playstation and all sorts of pets.

Lauren Lozano, 11, of Buffalo, called the NeXt hot line with a wider perspective on this Christmas gift scene. Said she: "I want the new American Girl doll named Josefina, the Clueless Hand-Free Phone, CDs, anything with Eeyore, clothes, Ty Beanie Babies -- and, of course, world peace."

In that spirit, many of NeXt's readers have more personal wishes this holiday season. James, of Campus East School, is hoping for more time with his dad. Ashely wants a baby kitten to love. And, Jacqueline Rowley, 11, of Lockport, is wishing for "a golden retriever puppy to cuddle up with at night. I would also want clothes to keep me warm, and I wouldn't like any more because the love my family gives me is enough."

Latricia Bloom, of Lockport, has these wishes: "I want a real-life white or brown toy poodle. When I get bored, I love to play with animals and babies. If I got what I want for Christmas, I wouldn't ask my mom or dad for anything else. Except to go see my Grandma in Medina."

An 11-year-old from Buffalo believes that this is the time of year to give as well as receive. "I think that people should donate stuff for people who are unfortunate," she told the NeXt hot line, after telling us what she wanted to Christmas: "Tons of CDs, like the Spice Girls' 'Spiceworld,' a new stereo and microphone and speakers."

Second to electronic toys on wish lists are bikes.

Freddie Duncan, 10, wants a stunt bike, and so does Eric Houston and Nicholas Hall.

Erik Voelkle, of Marilla, hopes to find a K2 snowboard under his Christmas tree. And Steven Brachmann, of Angola, is hoping for Super NES, Electronic Talking Battleship and a Buffalo Sabres goalie mask.

Girls have some different requests. Samantha Veach, 11, wants "the coolest clothes around."

Christine Spencer, of Snyder, is asking Santa to bring her "a Josephina doll, a lava lamp, brand-new doll clothes and little friends of Kelly."

Jessica Davis, of Buffalo, would like Winnie the Pooh, Olympic Barbie and an art kit that offers 1,202 activities. Danica Davis is hoping for a Tamagotchi, the sleeping Ernie doll and a Jeopardy hand-held game.

Kate, of Williamsville, is asking for a shiny new pair of ice skates, and hopefully a surprise.

And Elizabeth Callahan, of Buffalo, would like to see a laptop computer, a Tickle Me Elmo doll and a porcelain doll under her Christmas tree.

Many girls are hoping for fingernail kits; clothes, preferably with a logo, and virtual pets. Boys, on the other hand, are really hot to get skateboards, snowboards, computer software, Nintendo 64 and all the extras that go with playing video games.

One thing that most kids -- girls or boys -- definitely put at the top of their list: music and something to play it on.

Many parents feel that too much emphasis is put on the gift side of Christmas, and they wish that their children would want less and learn more about the real meaning of the season.

But many kids already understand what Christmas stands for. Take, for example, Richard Wellington, of Lockport.

What does he want for Christmas?

"What I would really like is to have my grandpa back. He died about a year ago."

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