The Letter Writing Revolution

Revitalizing a Lost Art One Letter at a Time

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Letter to Santa

I grew up in an Irish Catholic home and a part of the Christmas celebrations included Santa Claus. We had a good balance of the "real" meaning of Christmas along with the all of the other parts that make up this festive time of year. Between choir rehearsals, Sunday school classes and attending a Catholic School, we also had a Christmas tree, Christmas baking, shopping and gifts from Santa.

On Christmas Eve, after opening one gift (usually new pajamas), mom and dad would bundle us up and usher us out to the car for midnight mass. My sisters and I often had songs to sing that we had learned for this occasion. I can still sing them and can hear my sister's descant and alto voices combining with mine. I was usually soprano although I know that there was a descant singer busting to get out (this is where my sisters will crack up while reading this!). After mass, we would go home to the table set and a meat pie coming out of the oven. Then, we would set up some cookies, a glass of milk and our letters to Santa expressing our heart's desire and explaining the moments in the year when we were not-so-nice and justifying why we really did deserve the things we were asking for. My dad would also throw in some carrots for the reindeer and a bottle of beer for Old Saint Nick. This is an ancient Irish tradition, apparently.

I was wondering if children still write letters to Santa or does Santa get emails or texts now? I know that Canada Post offers an awesome service where children can send their letters to: Santa Claus, North Pole, HOH OHO, Canada. Each letter gets a reply from Santa himself.  I want that job next year.......writing letters back to the children on behalf of Santa Claus. I may look into that. Check out this blog for a wonderful post on being a Santa Letter Responder (Thanks to PamelaArtsinSF for letting me know about this post!).

A few years ago after my husband and I blended our lives, I came across a letter he wrote to Santa when he was probably around 8 or 9 years old. His mom had tucked it away with various papers and it managed to survive the years. This is what it says:

Dear Santa;

I don't want to much but it costs $18.96. 
It is Road Atlanta (page 449) 
and 3 position laser rifle (page 440). 

Love Timmy Graham

P.S I think it will be quite a bit of money so 
you don't have to give me them.

The page references would have been for the Sears Christmas Wish Book. Every kid growing up in the 70's in Canada anticipated the arrival of this special catalogue. The "P.S" bit cracks me up and breaks my heart at the same time. My husband is a gentle and caring soul who would give the shirt off his back if it were needed. He will do without before he will have someone be in need. Even as a young boy he was thinking of Santa and how much it might cost for Santa to actually give him the things he wanted.
Tim with Santa (circa 1976)

I know a lot of parents today who don't believe in buying into the whole "Santa Claus" thing for fear of "lying" to their children about an imaginary elf who flies through the air and manages to deliver presents all over the world in one night to "good" children only. I say we have gotten way to politically correct and serious. I think I knew early on that this whole Santa thing was a bit of a stretch but continued to pretend to believe in Santa much longer than I actually did for my parent's sake. My parents did a good job of teaching us the true meaning of Christmas while also creating glorious memories of the magic of it all. And contrary to popular belief, I don't remember a lot of the things I got but what I remember is the "feeling" of Christmas: warm pajamas, special treats, my dad reading "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" every Christmas Eve, candles burning and Elvis's Christmas album playing in the background. I remember knowing that this was a very unique time of year and learning the importance of tradition and family and being grateful. To this day, I can close my eyes and can access that "feeling" of anticipation when we would leave out our letters for Santa and go to bed knowing that when morning came, Santa would have left behind cookie crumbs, an empty milk glass, an empty bottle of beer (he was very thirsty!) and we would miraculously receive the very special gifts we had asked for.

"Wishing all of you, TLWR followers and readers, a very joyful & magical holiday season however and whatever you celebrate. I will be back again in the new year."


  1. Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family.

  2. I am moved once again at how one of the miracles of having siblings is that you share the same memories. You described our Christmases perfectly! I loved the midnight mass ritual, and coming home to the tree lit, a warm meal, and then being tucked into bed secure in our cozy home with our loving parents.
    I hope that my children feel the same way.
    That letter from Timmy is darling. Our girls still leave letters out for Santa and this year, Jamie has quite a list but p.s'ed it with "Please don't give me all of them. It would be too much. These are just ideas!"
    She has dug out the special cookie plate and mug for Santa. It may be our last year with a true believer in the house so it is extra-special.
    Merry Christmas everyone~

  3. Ditto to what Lana expressed our Christmases just as I would have. I agree about Santa. And religious and secular traditions need not our house we refer to Santa as Santa, St. Nicholas, and Father Christmas...we have Christmas gnomes attending the birth of Jesus in our Nativity scene (the kids did that!), and I bought some gifts at Walmart and handmade others. I don't feel scarred by having believed in Santa. I feel grateful and joyful at the memories I have of our childhood. And yes, this year YOU can sing the descant, Julie!! Haha!

  4. Hi--just "found" your blog and loved the post. Did you Jennie's post about answering letters to Santa? It is on her RedLetterDay blog. Loved the photos you posted to. Happy to find another person who loves mail.

  5. I agree entirely about the feeling of Christmas. I don't really remember specific presents, just the anticipation; how my dad would make us wait at the top of the stairs while he went down to see if Santa had "been", we were almost bursting by the time we got down there. Even now I'm all grown up, and have a house of my own, the first thing my dad says to me on the phone is "has he been?". It's magical, and I would never deny that to my future children!
    Lots of love, and I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas! xx

  6. New pj's always left on the doorstep as Santa flew over just beginning his Christmas Eve run...but I had to go to bed, not have lots more fun like the Keon kids. And no doubt Santa loved to stop at your house for the treats. Great letter to Santa and pic of Timmy. Look forward to more posts in 2011 and thank you for creating TLWR.


I need to know that this revolution is growing and impacting the masses. Your comments motivate me! Please take the time to let me know how TLWR is working for you.