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Sympathy tops Santa wish lists

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Children are putting something different at the top of their gift lists to Father Christmas this year -- compassion.

To be sure, they're still asking for toys. But many are also making requests on behalf of those less fortunate, say Santa's "elves" at the UK post office.

"They don't seem to be as greedy as in previous years," said Ray Kennedy, spokesman for Britain's Royal Mail. "Generally there is more interest in helping others this year. A lot of children are asking that the needy children get some presents."

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 • Santa Claus is 'real' in Lapland
 

The Royal Mail -- like Germany's Deutsche Post, France's La Poste and other counterparts across the world -- handles thousands of letters to Santa each year, either by traditional post or, as in the case of France, e-mail.

"Children can write to Santa Claus and we always make sure he gets the letters," says Jurgen Blohm of Deutsche Post.

Among the 750,000 letters the Royal Mail gathered this year at its main London depot before forwarding them to Lapland, many showed a trend toward putting others first.

"Last year computer technology was at the top of the list with kids asking Santa for a home computer, but this year the majority of kids are showing a caring, sharing spirit," said Kennedy.

"One little girl asked Santa to give her presents to some children who lived next door because they were very poor," he said.

Other compassionate requests:

 • "There is a girl who is not as lucky as I am. Can you give her a scooter?" asked Connor, 9, of Belfast, Northern Ireland.

 • "There are some people who have some very sad things going on, can you please make them happy?" asked Rebecca, 10, from Glasgow, Scotland.

 • "I know I can't have all the things I want because there are others who are poor and they must be helped," wrote Nathan, 7, from Oxford, England.

 • Katie, 10, from Wessex, England asked Santa for all his old envelopes so she could cut off the stamps and send them to a Christmas charity raising money for the homeless.

Of course, children still asked Santa for toys. Among the top 10 requests this year as compiled by UK postal workers: scooters, Pokemon, Barbie, World War II figures and Thomas the Tank Engine.



RELATED STORY:
Santa Claus is 'real' in Lapland
December 22, 2000

RELATED SITES:
Royal Mail
Deutsche Post
La Poste

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