How do you get what you want for Christmas? Write a letter to Santa, of course! Combing through “Dear Santa” letters published in historical newspapers, you can glean tips and tricks on how to write a letter of your own.
A close examination of hundreds of “Dear Santa” letters suggests there are several approaches to writing Jolly Old St. Nick:
Don’t dilly dally and get to the point.
Flattery (and name dropping) will get you everywhere.
Entice Santa with the promise of food and a good time.
It doesn’t hurt to brag sometimes.
Give Santa a guilt trip.
Other helpful tips can be drawn from the letters:
Bury the “big ask” amongst more humble requests.
Express concern for Santa’s welfare.
Provide Santa with clear directions.
To ensure your pony arrives, leave the back gate open and no room for negotiation.
- Search Chronicling America* to read more “Dear Santa” letters in newspapers throughout history!
- Check out these other Headlines & Heroes Christmas blog posts:
Anatomy of a “Dear Santa” Letter
Let’s Talk Comics: Folklore, Comics, and Santa Claus
Christmas with the Presidents
Need a Last-Minute Gift?
The Merry Tradition of Christmas Caroling
* The Chronicling America historic newspapers online collection is a product of the National Digital Newspaper Program and jointly sponsored by the Library and the National Endowment for the Humanities.