A Brief History of Sending a Letter to Santa

As adults we know that Santa is a fictitious character designed to add excitement and wonder to a child’s Christmas experience. Just the simple logistics of being able to fly through the sky and deliver gifts to children around the world in a matter of hours is impossible and yet children rarely question how Santa does it, let alone wonder how he manages to come down the chimney when their house doesn’t even have a fireplace. No one wants to burst a child’s bubble regarding Santa but have you ever wondered how sending a letter to Santa ever came about? Here is a little bit of history regarding this wonderfully sweet and innocent thing children like to do.

Sending a Letter to Santa

While the exact date of the first “Dear Santa” letter is unknown the fun Christmas tradition of sending a letter to Santa Claus goes back as far as 150 years in the United States. Today a child will sit down at a desk or table, often with a glass of milk and a couple of cookies to help set the holiday mood, and write down everything he wants for Christmas. Then on a clean sheet of paper he will write a letter to Santa outlining what he hopes the jolly man in a red suit will put in his Christmas stocking. Addressed simply to Santa at the North Pole Mom and the little boy will take the letter to the Post Office in time for Santa to get it before he embarks on his all night task of delivering toys and gifts to children all over the world.

Today the Post Office accepts responsibility for ensuring that Santa Claus receives all the letters addressed to him but prior to 1890 children placed their letters in the chimney, believing that magic smoke would whisk their wish list all the way to Santa’s toy shop at the North Pole. While the idea of magic being involved seems in line with the entire Santa and his magic sleigh pulled by flying reindeer, the Post Office is a much more reliable method of shipping today.

The wish lists of the children writing the letters to Santa range from the most modest of toys to outrageously expensive items and everything in between. Typically children ask for the latest trending toys and electronic gizmos, which can unknowingly put a lot of pressure on their parents (Santa) to produce as demand exceeds stocks of the most popular items of the season.

One of the most heartwarming Letters to Santa include wishes for things that are not material, such as a Christmas meal for the homeless, world peace, and it isn’t without possibility that a few children will want Santa to bring them a new baby brother or sister. While the fictional character has magical powers some wishes simply cannot be fulfilled no matter how hard Mom and Dad try. Helping a child write a letter to Santa is one way a parent can keep his wishes within reason. How much help your child will require is largely dependent upon how old he is.

There are several services available online that will send a letter to your child from Santa that is personalized. All you have to do is answer some simple questions that will make the letter seem as if Santa knows some things about your child, and then make payment and within a few days your child will receive his letter from Santa in the mail. It is fun for a child to send a letter to Santa but to receive a reply is even more fun and exciting, particularly as children very rarely get letters in the mail.

One of the wonderful aspects of the whole Santa letter tradition is that it preserves a child’s wonder and innocence. Their belief in Santa and his reindeer help parents keep the joy and wonder in their own lives alive. Experiencing the excitement and anticipation a child feels in the days leading up to Christmas Day can be therapeutic to parents who are madly shopping for last minute gifts, foodstuffs for the Xmas dinner table and making sure everything is in readiness for the big day. Helping a child write his letter to Santa is extremely advantageous to any parents who are struggling to come up with ideas for gifts. Even if all the items on the child’s wish list cannot be purchased, parents will do their best to get the child what he wants, within reason and within budget. When the child looks in his stocking on Xmas morning and sees that he got at least some of the things he asked for he will be ecstatic and his belief in Santa Claus will be reinforced.

There is some sadness when a child finally realizes that Santa Claus is nothing more than a fictitious character designed to add to a child’s excitement about Christmas. The loss of innocence is sometimes a disappointment to parents, but the memories of all the great Santa stockings that were opened over his years of early childhood will be precious when it comes time to foster a belief in Santa in his own children.