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For babes now, Toyland has a digital bent

Children's passion for playing with traditional, non-electronic toys seems to be diminishing at earlier and earlier ages

New York

THE children come day after day, lining up in the cold and snow on Main Street in Midland, Michigan, to wait their turn to enter Santa's house and whisper their Christmas longings to the jolly man in the red suit.

"Cellphone." "IPad." "Notebook." And when they say such things, Tom Valent, now in his 38th year as Santa Claus, unleashes his best "Ho-ho-ho" and replies: "Well, I'm good at toys. Electronics - that's a bit of a challenge."

Sure, children still want and receive trains and dolls and Legos and other playthings of the type that Santa might make in his North Pole workshop.

But their passion for playing with toys seems to be diminishing at earlier and earlier ages; after all, this...

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