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The Saints gave-away the game on Sunday… but they were giving-away toys on Monday.

Saints headquarters became Santa’s workshop for whole slew of little who dats.

It doesn’t take much for wide receiver Robert Meacham to catch the holiday spirit.

“It’s the time of year for giving,” says Meacham who join teammates and the United States Marine Corp,  giving away toys and bikes.

Battling a medical condition, Evangeline Johnson says she’s here because it’s the only Christmas her children will get, “My kids had to get something for Christmas this year.  So they can have something instead of nothing.”

Meacham says that’s why he’s here, “A mom or a father to have to say that this is the only Christmas they’re going to get, you want to try to buy as many toys as you can.”

Meacham and the Saints put their own money forward to buy all those toys and bikes.

Participating families were pre-selected.

When I was a kid growing up in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, the search for what I wanted for Christmas did not come from the internet–  it started with the Sears Wish Book.

When the annual Sears Wish Book arrived, you knew Christmas was right around the corner.  Anything you could imagine was found in those pages.  For me, it was the toys!

In those days, toys were inspiring, and inventive.  They challenged me physically and intellectually– they took me away to another time– or even into outer space.

Space exploration was huge when I was a kid.  Robots, rockets, and astronauts were hot items.  Spy stuff was cool too– like the James Bond action figures, or this camera that transformed into a gun.  Toy guns were very popular, and in 1966 Sears dedicated seven pages to toy guns, but 1969 the guns were all missing in action.  They weren’t there.

Some of my favorite toys, like Mattel’s Verti-bird, Billy Blast-off, Major Matt Mason, Evil Knievil, Big Jim, and the Six Million Dollar Man, did not last the test of time.  But some of the toys I grew up with are still being made for kids today, like Legos, the Magic 8 Ball, Silly Putty and the Big Wheel.

By far the most popular toy for girls was the Barbie doll.  Not only did she have accessories for her clothes, she had a boyfriend, Ken, plus cars, vans, and even an Olympic ski jump.  There were lots of dolls for girls.  Dolls that would talk, walk, wet their pants and grow hair. There was the Easy Bake oven that really cooked, kitchen sets and dinner ware, and of course doll houses.

I like looking at the things I got– and the things I didn’t get– like the talking GI Joe Astronaut and Space Capsule.  The price for both in 1970 would have been around $13. That was a lot of money back then.  In 2012, I bought them used for $200.  Long lost toys go up in value, not to mention the price of the catalogs themselves.  In good condition you can pay $75 -$100 for an old Sears Wish Book. They were free when I was a kid.

I love reminiscing through these old catalogs– evidence that times have changed.   Just remember, as long as you have your childhood memories and a good imagination, you’re never too old to enjoy toys.

One Metairie church has gone all out for Christmas: you can see more than 90 nativity scene sets at the  Saint Clement of Rome Parish Church.

WGNO’s Justin Abshire spoke with Greg Livaudais and gives us a look at vintage and modern scenes of the birth of Christ.

For more information, check out the church’s website: http://www.scrparish.org/news/2013-nativity-exhibit.html.

Folks over at Ochsner Hospital spent their morning honoring those who have died this past year with the lighting of the Tree of Life.

The lighting was followed by a concert by the New Orleans Celtic Harp Ensemble.

Over at Ochsner’s Pediatric Unit, Santa Claus made a virtual visit Friday morning.

Using a video monitor and a web-enabled camera, Santa was able to have a one-on-one with children in the hospital’s playroom.

For those kids that didn’t feel well enough to leave their rooms, Santa was still able to communicate with them through an iPad.

He’s busy. But he found a few minutes to Skype with WGNO News with a Twist features guy Wild Bill Wood. Named by TIME magazine, one of the best in the USA, from Fort Polk, Louisiana, it’s Santa Claus.

On the weekend before Christmas, New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond has an invitation for everbody to sing! WGNO News with a Twist features reporter Wild Bill Wood chats with the Archbishop.

Patients at Children’s Hospital got a very special treat Wednesday morning.

The Royal Sonesta Hotel took its “Royal Teddy Bear Tea” on the road to the hospital.

The patients and their families enjoyed a second-line, sing-along, story time with Mrs. Claus and each child received their own cuddly royal teddy bear.

On Friday, some of the patients will get a chance to visit the Royal Sonesta Hotel for a special teddy bear tea, there.

They’re getting ready to light the way for Christmas tonight in the River Parishes: it’s the Festival of the Bonfires in Lutcher, and WGNO’s “Wild Bill” Wood is there.

You can expect to see droves of people in the Warehouse District on Saturday, dressed as Santa Claus for the 3rd annual Running of the Santas!

WGNO’s Kenny Lopez met Bob Dauterive, who oversees the jolly event as the Mayor of the North Pole!

For more information or tickets, go to runningofthesantas.com.

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