Letters to Santa Found in the Newspapers

Nothing is more magical than seeing the holidays through the eyes of a child. For nearly 150 years, letters to Santa have appeared in newspapers. Some are sweet, some are funny, and some tug at your heartstrings. We searched our archives to share just a few examples:

Daily Press: Newport News, Virginia – 1932: “Dear Santa Claus: I am a little girl eight years old. Mother told me that I had been very good, so please bring me a bicycle, pair of shoes for dolly. Please don’t forget the oranges, nuts, apples and candy. Don’t forget my little cousins, Billy and Norman. Your little friend, Lauretta Crockett.”  

Davenport Weekly Republican: Davenport, Iowa – 1901: “My name is Ray Sindt, and don’t forget our house number; it is 1222 Gaines street corner Thirteenth, for Irene’s letter did not have it. And no date, dear Santa Claus, on it, either, then we won’t get our presents. I would like very much to have a live pony and a cart to go with it; then I can take Irene and our kittens out next summer. I would like to have a gun—but well, I’m not big enough, then I’ll take a sled and skates, and a few nuts and candy, if it is just the same to you. And if you have candy canes, Irene would like to have one, too—red and white striped ones. Please don’t forget Irene’s letter, for she felt very sad when she read it. We will hang up our stockings. Be sure and don’t forget our number this time, and don’t forget the pony. I can take good care of it. Good-bye Santa. I am 7 years old. Merry Christmas. Ray Hamilton Sindt. Don’t forget ma and grandma.”

Tampa Day Times: St. Petersburg, Florida – 1925: “My Dear Mr. Santa Claus: I take the liberty of writing you at this seemingly early date to remind you that I have changed my address from Boston Mass., to St. Petersburg, Florida, and should be quite up set, Mr. Claus if you by some error, perhaps not of your own, but of one of your many assistants, took my gifts to our old address. I hope you will not think me greedy for I am told you dislike that in all small boys, when I ask you to leave in or rather around my stocking or stocking’s a complete addition of the “Book of Knowledge,” and “in Tune With the Infinite.” My parents whom you have probably encountered in their youth have been for the past ten years connected with Harvard college, and I feel sure that they would be charmed to have you make your annual visit to us here in St. Petersburg. I will be twelve my next birthday, and while I have never mingled with other small boys my age, I am sure that I shall not feel the lack of any young companions if you accede to my request. Hoping you and Mrs. Claus are in the best of health and that you will enjoy your trip south. I remain, Horace Percy Greenapple.”

In 1992, a letter was dropped in a mailbox outside the Clallam County Courthouse in Port Angeles, Washington. The heartbreaking contents prompted a desperate search for its author, a boy named Thad. Newspapers across the country, including the Chicago Tribune, reprinted Thad’s letter. The young writer was never identified and donations, which poured in from the U.S. and Canada, were eventually turned over to the United Way. Thad’s letter read:

“Dear Santa Clas, Please help my mom and dad this Christmas. My dad is not working anymore. We don’t get many food now. My mom gives us the food she would eat. Please help my mom an dad. I want to go to Heven too be with the angels. Can you bring me to Heven? My mom an dad woud not have too by things for me no more. That would make them happy. Plese bring my dad a job an some food. I live in my house like last year. We got candils. A city man took the lights a way. It looks like we don’t live heer no more. We do. I will wate for you too come in my room. I will not slep. Wen you give my dad a job and some food too my mom I will go with you and the rain deer. Merry Christmas too you Mrs. Clas too the elfs too. Thad.”

Fortunately, most letters to Santa are filled with child-like anticipation and thoughts of toys and sweets. They also offer a historical snapshot of what was happening in America at the time. Many letters from the 1930s included a request for a Shirley Temple doll. In the 1950s children wanted a Slinky or Play-Doh, and G.I. Joe topped many lists in the 1960s.

Journal Gazette: Mattoon, Illinois – 1966: “Dear Santa—I’m a little boy, five years old, so my mother is writing this for me. I’ve been a pretty good boy all this year. I would like to find under the tree, a GI Joe space capsule and space suit, a GI Joe crash crew set, and a GI Joe flagman set. A green Beret doll. A Johhny Eagle Red River set. A Hands Down and Tip it game A table and chair set for my room. Thank you for all the presents you left me last year. There will be cookies and milk under the tree for you! Your friend Robbie Metcalf, 808 S. 9th St.”

Wouldn’t it be fun to find a letter that one of your family members wrote to Santa in our archives? To see more Letters to Santa from across the decades, search Newspapers.com today!  

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26 thoughts on “Letters to Santa Found in the Newspapers

    1. Yes, a precious child. It reminds me of the letter in the movie…A Town Without Christmas. Must have been used as the idea for the movie. Such a touching letter. Hid Bless his heart.

    2. Oh my yes.
      It isn’t so long ago … maybe a new search for Thad could be done? How heartbreaking.

  1. Well, that sure conjured up some brimming eyes here! I hope he and his family were practically overrun with givers.

  2. Dear Santa I am filled with gratitude that God created You in My DNA of my youth. That consciousness will forever BE…love.
    Ho! Ho! God bless. Peace on earth

  3. It sounded like Thad was depressed. Wanting to go to heaven? It breaks my heart. Hungry, cold, depressed. So many children in that situation. I wonder what ever happened to that child?

  4. The letter from Thad could have been written in almost every decade of this country’s history.. In 1992, though, there would have been more programs to help with food etc. Makes me wonder if the parents weren’t aware of them, too ashamed to use them……?

  5. Has anyone since tried to find “Thad”? When a little boy wants to go to heaven there is a problem somewhere. Lord, this breaks my heart!

  6. Poor Tadd! My heart is broken. He wanted to die to take the burden off his parents. I f only he had been located so those donations could let him know people cared. I hope things worked out for him.

  7. For any of you feeling so bad for the young boy. If his story makes you want to spend money on making him happy, then you only need to contact your local social workers. Most likely they can put you in touch with another small boy that really needs your kindness. We’ve done it and it’s a great feeling.

  8. Thad, where ever you are, my Love and Hugs. Sending you lots of love. I pray your family is safe. Take care. You are not alone in this hard time. There are some lovely people around the world who are ready to help. Lotsa Love.

  9. To all who have read this. Please find some contribution to any charity that you can. There are so many in need at this time with how the world is right now. Any bit helps. Money, items, time, whatever you can do to share in this blessed time, this time of need for so many, would be greatly appreciated. Maybe you know a family in need of their light bill to be paid or a hot meal would be welcomed. Socks, coats, knit caps, blankets. Animal charity, children’s charity, adult charities are all asking for help and they will get it. Look close to home, those are the Thad’s we have now.

  10. As one who benefitted from the love of others during my at-risk youth, I make it a daily duty to help at least one person a day. I’ve done this for the last 10 years and will never forget the grateful look on the many faces I saw. If YOU want to feel better during this pandemic holiday season, give it a try. Give a compliment; buy someone’s meal; fill your car with good clothing and blankets you no longer need or wear and find folks who DO need them. Or, just give money to someone who looks hungry. If you help others, I promise the joy you feel will exceed any joy a wrapped Christmas gift will bring you!!

  11. There are so many things you could comprehend from Thad’s letter. One thing for sure he is full of compassion. I had a good first 16 years of life, made some wrong choices and ended up struggling for quite a while. Things are better now.
    After I lost mom in 2011 I found some memories she had written down and after reading them I realized my struggling was nothing compared to hers. One of her memories mentioned at 6 years old she was taken to a green bean farm by my grandfather to pick beans to make money. Grandpa was always going from one place to another for years. Married several different times. Mom was moved from pillar to post for many years. She was also traumatized by seeing 1 of her step mother’s who shot herself in the next room. Mom was 12 then living in Crane Indiana. It is actually in the paper. Sometimes a person doesn’t know how good they have it until you read something like that. My heart definitely goes out to Thad!!
    If his parents were born into poverty, and I’m not critizing here or being derogatory by saying this, but they may have been illiterate or ignorant of what was out there at that time for help. One will never know for sure. So sad. Unfortunately, not everyone lives within their means and that definitely makes it hard to make ends meet. I have an adult son that doesn’t understand the value of a dollar no matter how hard I try. “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink it”.
    Thad, wherever you are, MERRY CHRISTMAS.

  12. I am so glad that Thad placed his faith in God. Thad, and everyone else in his shoes; needs to know Jesus never stops reaching out His hand to them. If they have faith, and reach up too; Jesus will bring them up to where He is. Jesus loved the little children first and most. His words were…”children/child-like people would go to the Kingdom of heaven first as a gift of God.: Thad’s faith was in the right place. “Prayer conquers all!”

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