Christmas Present: Bye-bye Teletubbies: children's letters tell Santa they'd rather have crayons

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Father Christmas can rest assured if he is having problems getting hold of Teletubbies - children would rather have pens, pencils and crayons, according to his elves at the Post Office.

A survey of children's wish lists sent to Santa Claus through the post found the traditional writing implements beat the Teletubbies into second place.

Laa-Laa proved the most popular figure with both boys and girls.

The Spice Girls, who snatched the Christmas number one song spot from the Teletubbies this week, came in at number five among girls.

Tamagotchi cyber pets, bicycles and Sony Playstations also cropped up frequently in the 750,000 letters sent to Father Christmas care of Reindeerland.

The longest list received was from a nine-year-old boy in Kent who asked for 1,453 individual presents.

A Reindeerland spokesman said an eight-year-old boy's request for pounds 5m in unmarked banknotes had been turned down, but a 91-year-old woman's wish for a man would be treated sympathetically.

In return for their presents, letter writers promised to put out more than 500,000 carrots and more than a million mince pies to keep Father Christmas and the reindeer going through the night.

Some 2,500 dummies and 67 babies' bottles were sent along with letters explaining their owners had grown "too big" for them. Forty-nine letters contained applications for jobs in Reindeerland.

Post Office chief executive John Roberts said the letters to Santa were among a record 2.225 billion letter and cards sent through the post this Christmas. The biggest post bag came on Tuesday 16 December, when 135 million items were handled - an all-time record for a single day and double the normal daily total of 72 million.

More than 100 million customers were served at Post Office Counters in the month leading up to Christmas.

top 10 for boys

Pens

Teletubbies

Action Man

Bicycles

Playstation

Cyber pets

Star Wars figures

Football kit

Buzz Lightyear

Lego

top 10 for girls

Pens

Teletubbies

Cyber pets

Barbie dolls

Spice Girl dolls

Bicycles

Secret diaries

Baby New Born

Playstation

Barney

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