NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With home life and school upended by the coronavirus pandemic, kids’ letters to Santa Claus look a little different this year.

CBS2’s Cory James has more on what they are asking the big man for.

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Through the eyes of a child, there is no doubt Christmas this year is different, so different that even letters to Santa are being crafted in an unusual way.

“I was going to put in something in my letter to end it soon,” 10-year-old Fili Eisenberg said.

“It” being COVID-19.

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The young boy is hoping old Saint Nick can stop the spread, an outbreak he knows is impacting his wish list.

“Usually, I’d get like, I’d ask for like nine or 10, but this year because of everything that has happened this year, I kinda shortened my list,” Fili said of the number of gifts he usually receives.

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Eight-year-old Finn Rooney kept his list small, too. He started off mentioning that he wants an Xbox, but ended the letter by talking about COVID-19, telling Santa, “It’s a virus that makes people sick and I want it to end. Thanks for listening.”

“It’s killing a lot of people and I can’t have play dates. A lot of people are moving, so it’s not the best,” Finn said.

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A new study in Britain shows that school closures are having a big effect on children’s mental health. Developmental psychologist Duncan Astle and his team tracked about 200 elementary students before and after lockdown and found a 70% chance symptoms got worse in isolation.

“We found quite a substantial increase in ratings of depressive symptoms during lockdown,” Astle said.

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An Upper West Side father of a 13-year-old and 16-year-old is paying attention to that, too.

“We’re all kind of watching out for mental health with our kids and it’s been a toll, but we’re just trying to keep cheery watching Christmas movies every night,” he said.

Little efforts that experts say can make a big difference.

FAO Schwarz is contributing to that by offering one New York City family a magical sleepover inside its popular two-story, 20,000 square-foot toy store. It’s a sign that, “This year has been different,’ Finn said.

But whether through an evening of whimsy and wonderland, or a letter penned to Santa before Christmas asking for change, people of all ages are trying to make the holidays better for everyone.

If you would like to be one of Santa’s helpers, the U.S. Postal Service is looking for help with its “Adopt a Letter” program. For more information, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

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