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GIFTS OF PRESENTS PAST // the good, the bad and the denim shawl

Occasional reports from X-Team members

Yeah, yeah. It's better to give than receive _ but who doesn't want a bunch of cool stuff? It's always disappointing to rip open the gift wrapping only to reveal yet another eco-pack of socks and underwear. Gift givers will never learn unless we tell them!

We asked the X-tended X-team, the kid critics auxiliary, to tell us the BEST gift and the WORST gift they ever received, as well as the gift they REALLY want to get. Some gifts are truly horrifying _ troll dolls and a plethora of really ugly clothes! Some were wonderful _ a favorite doll from grandparents or a brother coming home from the hospital. Many of our X-tended X-teamers showed their holiday spirit by telling us that there's no such thing as a bad gift. They appreciate everything they get.

Clip n' save this sample of our survey and share it with the gift-givers in your life.

Angelo Perrino, 12, Clearwater

Best gift: Boom box. I didn't have a CD player, and my radio wasn't very good, but my uncle (and cousins) bought me the boom box. Now I can listen to music and record the songs I like.

Worst gift: Sports equipment. When I need sports gear, my mom buys it for me _ like when I needed shin guards for soccer or knee pads for volleyball. Any other sports stuff is usually unnecessary. I already have basketballs, footballs, etc., but people always think these are good things to give boys.

What I REALLY want: Sony Play Station! I love video games. I have tried all the new systems, and I like Play Station best.

Wiley H. Fanning, 12, St. Petersburg

Best gift: Computer. I always wanted one, and I play with it all the time.

Worst gift: Trolls. I hated trolls!

What I REALLY want: Go-cart. I like fun, fast things.

Jessica Brady, 9, Palm Harbor

Best gift: Talkboy. It's my favorite toy, because I like to eavesdrop and I can record what I hear.

Worst gift: Any kind of clothes. I just hate getting clothes!

What I REALLY want: American Girl magazine. I want to get in the club, because I love American Girl stuff.

Jimmy Careccia, 10, Palm Harbor

Best gift: Jurassic Park video. I thought that movie was the best!

Worst gift: None. I like all my presents.

What I REALLY want: Independence Day video. The movie was totally COOL!

Nicole Crozier,9, Palm Harbor

Best gift: My brother coming back from the hospital. He's the best gift God has ever given, and the thought that his life was in danger was scary. That's why it was the best gift he has ever given me.

Worst gift: None.

What I REALLY want: Lee jeans. I need new ones. My old ones are too small.

Stephani Denardi, 10, Largo

Best gift: A trampoline.

Worst gift: A fake Barbie doll; it had hair that would fall out.

What I REALLY want: A Coca-Cola vending machine. Instead of going up to the store, I could have some available.

Heather DeOreo, 13, Palm Harbor

Best gift: VCR. I don't have to worry about sharing the family VCR with everyone.

Worst gift: None. I appreciate them all and find a use for all of them.

What I REALLY want: Rollerblades. I grew out of my old ones.

Robin Erwin, 11, Largo

Best gift: A doll that my grandparents gave me when I was 4.

Worst gift: Garden gloves, because I said that I didn't want the gloves.

Julia Grubbs, 13, Clearwater

Best gift: A trampoline. It was so big, and all my friends always were over at my house.

Worst gift: An ornament maker. It was after Christmas, and it was really stupid.

What I REALLY want: A thing. It's hard to describe. It's this thing that comes on a rope and you connect it to a high tree and a low tree. You can grab on this thing that kind of looks like a hanger, and you slide.

Neil Hughes, 12,

Palm Harbor

Best gift: A Lightning jersey. The Lightning are my favorite team, and I wear it all of the time.

Worst gift: A toy gun. It was neat, but it broke the next day, so we bought another one and it broke, so we bought another one and it broke!

What I REALLY want: A new pair of ice skates. I need new skates to play better at hockey games.

Lauren Schumacher,

13, Oldsmar

Best gift: My American Girl doll. I had been wanting it for a long time.

Worst gift: I don't know.

What I REALLY want: A portable CD player. I like to listen to music on trips, and I don't like taping my tapes for my Walkman.

Mary Theresa

Waechter, 10,

St. Petersburg

Best gift: A dog. He will last longer than any present. He will always be in my heart.

Worst gift: "Jean shawl." I didn't know what it was or what to do with it. I've never worn it, and I'm not even sure where it is.

What I REALLY want: CD player. Nobody likes to hear the music I like to play.

Joey Waechter, 12,

St. Petersburg

Best gift: My double-breasted suit. I get a lot of use out if it. It's very nice.

Worst gift: I have never received a bad present.

What I REALLY want: A go-ped. I love to ride them. It is a moving experience. (No pun intended.)