Printing childrenís letters to Santa Claus has been an annual tradition at the Glen Rose Reporter for many years. At first we offered kids in local pre-schools, both public and private, and kindergarten and first graders the opportunity to write their letters and see them printed in the newspaper.

But then the second graders wanted in on the action. And so did third graders. So we basically opened the doors and said, ďGet 'em to us. Write away.Ē

They did. That Santa is one popular dude.

Our colleague Chris Butler spent untold hours gathering and typing the letters. She often chuckled at some of the funny and endearing things kids said. Readers likely will, too. (See E-Edition page B1)

Mostly, the letters remind us of the childlike wonder and innocence that makes Christmas a special holiday, and its enduring message of love, hope, faith and peace.

One teacher must have instructed her students to think beyond themselves, because students in one class in particular all asked Santa to end war, hunger or poverty.

A few letter writers asked for a baby sister or brother ó talk to your parents about that, kids!

Those of us not up to speed on the latest toys and gadgets got an education about whatís hot this Christmas. It looks like Santa will have to spend a lot of time rounding up Xboxes, DSi games, Zhu Zhu Pets (robotic hamster toys) and an electronic game called "Call of Duty: Black Ops." They all were on lots of kidsí lists.

Then there are some toys that have stood the test of time ó and donít require electricity or batteries ó such as Legos and Barbie dolls.

Lots of kids asked Santa for another snowy Christmas day. Sorry, it looks like the Polar Express isnít headed this way except in book or DVD form.

Sadly, the economy affected Santa letters as well. Several children wished for warm clothes for Christmas. One asked for an oven because the familyís stove was broken.

But a few kids didnít want anything except for their families to be happy. That really is the ultimate gift, isnít it?

Happy reading, thanks to all the children who wrote and all the teachers who took time to help and Merry Christmas!