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Days Gone By: Letters from children

10 YEARS AGO, DEC. 26, 2002

Editor's Note: Each year River Falls third graders are asked to answer a holiday question. In 2002 they were asked what they would do if Harry Potter came for the holidays or how would they design a new outfit for Santa.

Will Brenes: I would take Harry to the movies and see "Treasure Planet." I'll ask him to put me in the movie with him and when we come out I will ask him to turn my brother into a chicken.

Paul Haskins: My Santa wouldn't ride in a sleigh. He'd go on a spike-tailed, jet black, fire-breathing dragon. He'd use a magical staff to control it instead of reins. My Santa doesn't eat cookies and milk because he's on a strict diet and can only eat veggies. He's also bald and wears a turban and robe with cowboy boots to match. The new Santa wears fake nails because his real ones are covered with mold. He carries a good luck charm with a ruby. This new Santa sounds great, but I still like the old one.

Matt Rudesill: I would have Harry join our family for Christmas dinner and the opening of gifts to show him how nice Muggles really can be. Then I would take Harry for a ride on my 4-wheeler and maybe he could make it fly.

Sophie Johnson: Santa is a Harley Davidson guy! He likes to ride on motorcycles and to hang out with his friends up in a tree house. He delivers presents by going right in the door and putting them under the tree.

Annie Yelk: I would take Harry to Hoffman Park and show him all my secret spots. Then I would show him the dragon cave and once we walked in there, standing in front of us would be a real dragon.

Kait Goudreault: Ms. Claus. My Santa is a woman. The color of her skin is pink. Her dress is blue. Her dress has blue snowflakes on it. She has a crown, it is blue also. She surfs on a snowflake and comes down the chimney. Her hair is blue and long.

Bryanne Thomas: Santa changed -- Santa's in town! That doesn't look like Santa Claus. What do you mean? He's got sunglasses. He dyed his hair purple. He has no shirt on. He has hippie pants on.

Travis Mathieson: Second Generation Santa -- Yesterday I was biking at my secret dirt track when Santa came and asked me to design a new costume. I told him, "You should get around with a guitar, with leather pants and a leather shirt, and you should have flaming hair. And your new name is Ozz Clauz."

Brandon Glenna: One day Harry came to River Falls. He gave me four wants. I gave one to my brother and one to my mom and one to my dad and one to me. Harry brought me to Hogwarts. I had a Quidditch match. I was the seeker. I caught the snitch! It was worth 150 points. We won the game!

20 YEARS AGO, DEC. 24, 1992

Editor's Note: In 1992 third graders were asked what they would give a child who has nothing or to write of things they appreciate.

Jacob Berning: I would give someone some food, money, and Jesus. I would teach them. I would pray for them. I would get them a job.

Nick Finstad: I would share the love of Jesus with the people and give a place to live. I would give a nice warm house, clothes, food, and friends. And I would give them medicine they needed and a Bible too.

Kelly Cashman: Dear Santa Claus, if I could give anything I wanted to give to a kid who had nothing I would give them food so they do not starve. I would give them a warm house so they do not freeze of cold. Santa, if I can't give these wonderful gifts, would you? Please?

Robert Close: Santa, this is going to be hard because I'm only eight years old. But please help me give them money, a home, a bed, a blanket, food, clean water and care. I could do it by adopting three of them and I will love them until I die.

Mark Benson: Dear Santa, May you please help me get presents to the poor, sick and homeless? And give them a good education. Take them to church so they can learn about God and Jesus.

Jenny Soderlund: I appreciate having love because it's the most precious thing I have. I also appreciate having my mom and dad because they both give me love. I also appreciate having my family because they all give me love. My wish as Christmas time is that all children around the world could be as fortunate as I am.

Danny Baar: I appreciate having my pets because they keep me company and they are really fun to play with. My dog is more fun to play with than my cat.

Jeff Blackford: I appreciate having a few Micro Machines that I got for my birthday, and I appreciate having nice friends because it's fun to play with them when we can. And I like to play with my Legos in my basement, and I love to play with my dog. And I appreciate having a loving family because if I didn't I wouldn't have a home.

Justin Holmquist: I appreciate having a house. I enjoy having toys and I value my family because some kids don't have parents. I'm grateful for having food. I respect having books. I treasure having schools so when I grow up I will have a better job. I am grateful for my clothes so I don't get cold in the winter.

30 YEARS AGO, DEC. 23, 1982

Editor's Note: In 1982 third and fourth graders were asked what Christmas meant to them.

Alec Timmerman: Christmas means decorating the tree, opening presents, getting things from your stocking like candy.

Lee LaValley: Christmas is giving and sharing and eating candy and getting gifts.

Jim Joseph: What Christmas means to me is a time for giving presents to friends, family and relatives. There are very many things that you can give away on Christmas and on birthdays.

John Wheeler: Christmas is the time to open our presents and to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Christmas is a time to go caroling and caring for people.

Chad Cernohous: It means that it is time for fun and giving in your family. It's time for giving and getting too. It's time for happiness. Time for sharing. It's cheer no fears. It's time to play.

Molly Jo Brenna: It is Jesus' birthday. And we give to people and it is fun to give. But some people only care about gifts. But to me it is Jesus' birthday. It is a special day for Jesus and it only comes once a year. So, can't you care a little more than you do, we would all be happy.

Heather Rasmussen: Christmas means a lot of hugging, loving, caring and kissing too. It means getting excited to open the presents my mom and dad bought me. Every Christmas I get to meet a lot of new relatives.

Lance Kuhn: Christmas is a time of giving and receiving. A time to sing Christmas carols. A time to put up a tree. And a time to play in the snow.

Jon Davis: Christmas means to give and share love, forgive and be nice to others. Playing with others and being good. That's Christmas to me.

Guy Relander: Christmas means to me the spirit of giving and loving each other. If I did have one wish I would wish that we could have peace throughout the land.