Dear Santa…

Dear Santa,
How are you? I have been good. Most of the time. How is Rudolph? And Mrs. Claus? Please bring me a new doll for Christmas. I will leave you milk and cookies.

Sound familiar? Each year, children everywhere pen a note to their favorite man in red from the North Pole. For more than a century, these letters have appeared in newspapers around the country. Take a trip through time as you read these declarations of “goodness” and heartfelt pleas from youngsters for a holiday visit from Santa.

Letters from the 1800s

Good Old Saint Nick” – 1890

For Santa Claus” – 1897

“Santa Claus’s Mail-Bag” – 1898

Letters from the Early 1900s

“A Page of Letters to Santa Claus” – 1904

“Appeals from Abilene’s Little Ones to Dear Old Santa Claus” – 1908

“Letters for Santa Claus” – 1908

A Special to the New York Times

In a 1906 edition, the NYT published a disheartening article called “Want to Play Santa Claus?” Based on the law, the thousands of letters received by the Post Office each year are sent to the Dead Letter Office as undeliverable because “how could letters addressed to a person and place that don’t exist be delivered?”


Some newspapers printed advertisements to encourage children to write a letter to Santa. A Harned and Von Maur store ad asked kids ten and under to write their “best letter” to win a variety of prizes. 

An advertisement for a Santa Parade in 1927 asked children 12 and under to write a letter, and Mrs. Santa would “read and answer every letter that is received.”

The Evening Journal shared one of their daily prize-winning letters by Bonnie Jean Bartz. She wrote her letter in the form of a poem to win that day’s merchandise prize.

With some lucky searching, who knows? You might find an ancestor’s Santa letter when you browse the collection of digitized newspapers at Visit the website for a 7-Day Free trial today.

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