To save my friends and readers from some aggravation early in the year, here's a Happy New Year's resolution that renders double service. Resolve to do it immediately!

To avoid writing the familiar 1980 on your initial batch of 1981 checking transactions, get your checkbook right now and fill in the date spaces of the first dozen or so chekcs with either "1981" or just "81," depending on how your book is set up.

Now, still using the same checkbook, write the words "Children's Hospital" on the "pay to the order of" line of the uppermost check. I'll leave it to your imagination to fill in the rest of the conveniently arranged lines. Don't forget to sign your check.

Finally, mail that check, made payable to Children's Hospital, to: Scott Chase, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. You'll be glad you did.

And you'll be joining thousands of other concerned citizens and District Liners as we continue to battle the "built-in deficit" that haunts Our Town's Children's Hospital.

For more than a century, Children's has provided free or low-cost medical treatment to children whose parents could not afford to pay for necessary care. tFrom the start of that heroic human undertaking, for which the hospital was created, area residents have confirmed their commitment to the concept of free health care for needy children by contributing millions of dollars to Children's free care fund.

Before we get started with out usual business, here are the contents of an anonymous letter I found amusing.

"Last year I sent $25 because I have two healthy boys. This year I send $50 for my two still healthy boys, one of whom was in Children's twice this year for minor operations. I am also adding $4, a dollar each for the four diapers I 'borrowed' on one visit because I was all out and couldn't get to the store on the night after the operation." You're forgiven!

Our writer joined 49 other private individuals who contributed a total of $1,450 this morning. Several area groups also did their part for Children's Hospital.

A check for $20.75 came from members of the Country Chimes Chapter of Sweet Adelines Inc. in Manassas. Another group of students, third graders at Silver Spring's Cresthaven School sent $30 earned by doing household chores.

The handy folks at the Pentagon Carpenter Shop collected $35 "in lieu of exchanging Christmas cards." Several residents of Woodside Estates in McLean went carolling to the tune of $66.33. The staff of the Aurora Facility at Harry Diamond Laboratories in White Oak contributed $80. A total of $95 was saved for the children by employes of Wilson Hill Associates by not exchanging greeting cards within the office.

The Columbia Pike Gift Shop broke the triple-digit barrier with their check for $100. They said another check would be coming from their "customers and volunteer workers." The Agriculture Department's Operations and Finance Personnel Division sent $115. Employes of Remco Business Systems Inc. constructed their 19th annual money tree. This year it yielded $117!

Two checks for $125 arrived. One came from the now-defunct Brightwood Investment Club. Members of BIC have been loyal contributors for nearly two decades. The club disbanded last June, but "old habits and sincere feelings are not so easily dissolved. The checks for Children's Hospital started arriving soon after your drive began."

The other $125 gift came from "the residents and friends of Tysons Towers, an apartment complex for senior citizens." The donors raffled off a handmade afghan crocheted by one of the tenants.

The Psychological Services Staff of the CIA sent $190, their best total yet after years of not exchanging greeting cards. Other old friends, members of the Southern Railway's Law Department, donated $210 and promised more for next year.

Those 13 groups added $1,309.08 to the $1,450 already mentioned for a daily total of $2,759.08. Inasmuch as the shoebox last held $73,363.11, it now must contain $76,122.19.

So once again we're just about $10,000 behind last year's pace. The drive is just about half over, and if experience is any guideline, things are going to slow down. I'll just have to rely on the procrastinators, always a great source of funds for Children's.