Living: What Do You Want from Santa?

This year, parents may find the answer surprisingly familiar

Pity the toy industry and its industrial-strength elves. Over the next three weeks parents and grandparents will part with some $5 billion in toy stores across the land. But for the second straight year, America's toymakers have < not brought off the Christmas miracle they once dreamed of: the one new blockbuster toy that every child must have.

In a spirit of caution, the established companies are relying instead on their proven winners. Many are backing away from the high-tech, high-priced offerings of Christmases past, the electronic spaceships, the laser guns, the chatty dolls, stuffed with microprocessors, that weighed roughly as...

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