Although parents may be worried about the recession and how they'll pay the bills, their children don't seem too concerned -- if their letters to Santa are any indication.
Some youngsters in North Countyhave asked for as many as 30 toys this year. One boy from Glen Burnie had an itemized list of 36 for Santa.
For the third year, volunteers from the Glen Burnie Improve
ment Association have posted a festive mailbox for Santa's letters outside the association's offices on Crain Highway.
Volunteers help Santa by opening the mail and getting it ready for him, said Barbara Moeller, Christmas activities chairwoman.
Every letter with a returnaddress is answered by Santa, she said. So far, about 75 letters have gone out to North County children, with a few going to youngsters in other areas.
Like last year, anything associated with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is hot with boys. Walt Disney's Little Mermaidcharacter is the favorite among girls, who ask for Little Mermaid dolls, sleeping bags and other accessories.
Volunteers who help openSanta's mail said the recession seems to have had little impact on the number of requests being made, especially by boys.
"The boys always ask for more than the girls," said Moeller, adding that boys' lists tend to include 15 to 20 items. Girls generallyrequested five to 10 things and often asked for practical items, like clothes.
Girlsalso tend to write nicer letters, asking about Santa's health and telling him about their families.
Some of the boys dispensed with niceties altogether and got right down to business.
One began his letter with "Sear's Catalog," followed by a list of almost 30 items identified by page and item number.
Others didn't want to leave anything to chance, clipping pictures of the toys they wanted from catalogs and pasting them on sheets of paper.
Only one little girl wrote a letter that seemed in keeping with the true spirit of Christmas, a volunteer said.
She didn't want anything for herself, but asked Santa what he wanted so she could leave him a gift.
She also expressed concern for children less fortunate than herself.
"Make sure you take care of the poor," she said.