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Merry Christmas!

Readers! Have you written your letter to Santa? Has he received it?

Traditionally children write a letter to Santa to ask for what they want for Christmas. In my family, it was more about flicking through the Argos catalogue and making a list of all the toys we wanted, with the page number and catalogue number so Mum and Dad could order it. (These were before the days of online wish lists and amazon shopping, of course)

These days, mums and dads help their kids type up their letters to Santa and Santa replies with a personalised letter. Santa clearly has more time now that computers have been invented, despite the population boom. This year, my 2 year old niece kept up the Brombley family tradition of using the Argos catalogue for her Christmas list, but her Mum helped her turn the collage of pictures of toys into a letter for Santa. She then got this reply:

IMG_7304

Cute, right?! (Note for adults: you can get your own child one for Christmas next year by donating to the NSPCC)

In 1897 The Strand Magazine published an article called ‘Letters to Santa Claus’. The Strand Magazine was the monthly magazine that published the Sherlock Holmes stories from A Scandal in Bohemia onwards. The article begins:

Some years back a little boy wrote a letter to Santa Claus asking for a box of paints. The postman, unfortunately, did not know where Santa lived, so he took the letter to the post-office, and, in course of time, the little boy received the box of paints. Nothing, I think, could more clearly prove that Santa, by some mysterious means, is accessible to all children through the mail.

Post office staff have a tricky job sometimes – addresses are not always easy to read or are incomplete and they have to deduce in a Sherlockian fashion where the letter should go.

In every well-regulated post-office there is a corps of “guessers” and directory searchers, who are kept for the express purpose of finding out where people live, when addresses are carelessly or not fully written out.

But what if the address in question isn’t in our world, but the dream world? (Remember Miracle on 34th St when Kris Kringle explains his toy factory is in the dream world and isn’t visible in the real world?) The article assumes that someone at the Post Office must know the secret address to get them to him safely.

Some letters to Santa are sweeter than others: apparently one little boy from London wrote to Santa to try and ‘appease’ him for having eaten a whole pot of jelly:

My dear Santa Claus

Christmas will soon be here, and I spect you are very busy getting presents ready. You did not forget me last year and the things you brought me were booful. How did you stweze down our small chimley the toys were not smuty. Dear Santa Claus my mama says you only come to good boys and girls. I had the meesels wonce and a kind lady gave me a pot of jelly. I thot I would help my self and ate it all up at wonce. I hope dear Santy Claus you will forget this cos I did like that jelly. Plese bring me a bicykel You can’t put that in my stocking or through the chimley but I will ask my daddy to put the door open for you to come in Plese bring a monkey on a stick for my baby brother and a walking stick for my daddy…My stocking is so big so plese pop in sweets and nuts and a big pot of jelly. I wont eat it all at wonce. I hope dear Santy Claus you will not have a bad cold or the meesels, and not be able to come.

My name is –

Percy

Have to say, I agree with the article author – I suspect Santa looked favourably on little Percy and gave him a bicycle after he was better, and maybe even some more jelly, too! Just because some children are occasionally ‘norty’ and eat all the jelly, doesn’t mean they’ll be forgotten; not even the little girl who was ‘norty sometimes’ but really ‘like butterscotch’. Though the article doesn’t think much of poor little John’s letter:

Dear Santa, – When I said my prayers last night I told God to tell you to bring me a hobby horse. I don’t want a hobby horse, really. A honestly live horse is what I want. mamma told me not to ask for him, because I probably would make you mad, so you wouldn’t give me anything at all, and if I got him I wouldn’t have any place to keep him. A man I know will keep him, he says, if you get him for me. I thought you might like to know. Please don’t be mad. – Affectionately, John.

P.S. – A Shetland would be enough

P.S. – I’d rather have a hobby horse than nothing at all.

It is said that ‘Little boys who don’t do as their mothers tell them find little favour with Santa Claus.’ I think Santa has a heart of stone if he doesn’t find that letter cute and amusing, but there we are. Hopefully John still got a hobby horse.

So next year, get your letters to Santa in early and make sure they’re polite; that you’ve not disobeyed your mother, and remember it’s ok to eat ALL the jelly.

I wish you a very merry Christmas, a happy holiday and a wonderful new year!

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