Dear Abby:

A few years back, you published a poem that asked the question, "What do you want for Christmas?" The answer was, "Nothing!" I sent it to family members that year, but have since lost it. Please print it again.

"Old" Fan in Illinois

I'm happy to. The verse was written by two "Longtime Readers in Missouri" to help senior citizens tell their families and friends what they want -- and what they don't want -- for Christmas. Read on:

So many of you asked us (since Yuletide's drawing near)

"What do you want for Christmas? What can we give this year?"

If we say, "We want nothing!" you buy something anyway,

So here's a list of what we'd like; believe now what we say:

Pajamas for a little child, food to feed the poor.

Blankets for a shelter, and we ask but little more --

Perform good deeds and let us know,

Or volunteer your time.

These last are worth a fortune,

And they needn't cost a dime.

We have too many things now, vases, candles, tapes and clocks.

We have our fill of garments, ties, underwear and socks.

Candy is too fattening, crossword books we've more than 20.

We don't need trays or plates or cups,

And knickknacks we have plenty.

We've no walls to hang more pictures;

We have books we've not yet read;

So please take what you'd spend on us

And help the poor instead!

Just send a Christmas card to us and tell us what you've done;

We'll open them on Christmas Eve and read them one by one.

It won't cost as much for postage as a package sent would do,

You'll need no wrapping paper, ribbons, ink or glue.

And we'll thank God you listened to what we had to say,

So we'll be the instruments to help someone this way.Dear Abby:

My wife thinks I'm weird because I put ice cream on my shredded wheat in the mornings. I figure it's a dairy product, and besides, it tastes good! What's your opinion?

Everett in Laguna Hills, Calif.

If you're not concerned about saturated fat or calories, the practice is all right with me. However, an equally tasty and healthier alternative would be to sweeten your cereal with flavored nonfat yogurt. (It's delicious with oatmeal.)

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.

(c)2002, Universal Press Syndicate