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Kids can e-mail wish list to Santa


December 3, 2001

The recession is taking its toll on many areas of the Internet. Hundreds of dot-com companies have vanished, and even Santa is feeling the pinch. However, a few sites still let kids send letters to St. Nick and get a free e-mail reply.

But as with anything offered for free on the Internet, there are things to watch out for. Free letters from Santa are usually subsidized by advertising. That means letter sites are flush with banner ads. The letters may contain advertising too.

To make sure you'll like what your child sees, you should probably generate a test letter before letting a kid receive one. Parents who give their e-mail addresses for replies do risk winding up on junk mail lists, but the same thing happens with snail mail.

Write a letter to Santa on your computer and receive a free reply from Santa At Home (www.santaathome.com/mailsanta.htm). The privacy statement on this site promises that the e-mail address you provide will not be shared.

Santa also has an e-mail pickup station in the United Kingdom. You can write a letter and get one in return at The Christmas Pages' Santa's Virtual Letter (www.north-pole.co.uk/letter/letter2.htm).

Simply click on the appropriate boxes and fill in a few blanks to receive a response from the great man himself at AwesomeCards.com (www.marlo.com/cgi-bin/santnote.pl). This site also offers online holiday cards.

Here are some other interesting sites worth visiting this week:

For players only

www.ferryhalim.com/orisinal

If you like online Flash-based games that are beautifully done and not laced with death and destruction, you owe yourself a visit to Orisinal. These games require skill as well as luck.

Tall tales

www.mountainvoices.org

Mountain Voices offers stories from mountain people around the world. Read interviews with more than 300 people in India, Nepal, Peru, Mexico, China, Kenya, Poland and the peaks of Pakistan. Learn about local culture and customs, history, economics, communication, food, festivals and more.

Afghanistan guide

www.nationalgeographic.com/

landincrisis

National Geographic offers a comprehensive report on Afghanistan. Along with news about the war on terrorism, there are online activities for kids, a Webcast featuring experts on Afghanistan, satellite images of the region and an interactive map showing terrain, troop and refugee movements, ethnic groups, etc.

By Dave Peyton, Tribune Media Services. Copyright © 2001, Chicago Tribune


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