Writing a letter to Santa is part of the wonder and excitement of Christmas for children all over the world. With help from his trusty elves, Father Christmas works hard all year round, making toys and gifts at his workshop at the North Pole.
As the big day approaches, his headquarters are filled with a flurry of activity, with the jolly man in red and his cheerful little helpers making sure that all the presents are ready to deliver on Christmas Eve. Children everywhere are writing letters addressed to “Father Christmas, North Pole,” to let Santa know what they are hoping to find in their sack on Christmas morning – and he’s currently at his workshop awaiting the letters and keeping a list of the senders’ names in a book, so he can see at a glance whether they’ve been naughty or nice this year!
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Letters through the ages
Children have been writing letters to Santa for around 150 years and he has read all kinds of stories about what they have been up to. The letters have provided a snapshot of the children’s day-to-day lives.
Back in 1853, mother-of-three, Fanny Longfellow of New York, posted her children’s letters to Father Christmas, as she did every year, and they eagerly awaited his reply.
Proving that Santa knows everything about all children, they were shocked when he responded with, “You have picked up some naughty words this year, which I hope you will throw away! Stop to think before you use any – and remember, even if no one else hears you, God is always near.”
Thousands of letters to Santa have been passed on to the Santa Claus Museum, in Santa Claus, Indiana, dating from 1930 to the present day, so that other people can read them and find out more about what kind of presents kids have asked for over the decades.
The desire for toys has remained constant, although of course, the type of toy has changed a lot over the years! In 1900, the most popular gifts for UK children included soft toys made by JK Farnell, toy soldiers by William Britains, board games by Chad Valley and WJ Bassett-Lowke’s train sets.
Meccano, designed by Frank Hornby for his sons, was a toy based on mechanical engineering. When it was first launched in 1901, it was called Mechanics Made Easy and it didn’t become Meccano until 1907. Other popular toys in the early 20th century included dolls’ houses, clockwork toys, spinning tops, magic lanterns, rocking horses, puzzles, toy cookers and dolls.
The top toy trend of the 1920s was the simple Yo-Yo, which became so popular that Yo-Yo trick contests were organised across the world! Who remembers the Slinky, the metal tubular toy that looks like a giant spring and can walk downstairs on its own? It was first made in 1945 by mechanical engineer Richard James and has been found in many Christmas stockings ever since. In fact, more than 300 million Slinkys have been sold to date.
In the 1950s, Mr Potato Head was invented by George Lerner, who was inspired to make the toy after looking at the family’s dinner table. He made a selection of silly face parts that could be clipped on to an actual potato. In 1952, the Hassenfeld brothers, who founded Hasbro Inc, bought the toy idea and packed 28 plastic body and facial parts, replacing the real potato head with a plastic one.
Star Wars action figures dominated the late 1970s, after the first Star Wars film was released by George Lucas in 1977, while Cabbage Patch Kids, the squishy-faced dolls, were the major toy trend of the 1980s. By the end of 1983, three million of the dolls had been adopted, leading to some busy times for Santa in delivering them all on time.
The 1990s saw the launch of the Beanie Babies, a cult toy that has become a great collectors’ item today, while the electronic gaming console, the Wii, was the one all the kids wanted to wake up to on Christmas morning at the start of the 21st century.
How to write to Santa
Once the children have chosen the gifts they would like, it’s time to get out some paper and a pen – don’t forget, he likes drawings as well as letters! Everyone can get into the Christmas spirit by listening to some festive music as the letters are written.
Always remember to include your name, as Santa receives a lot of letters and needs to know who each one is from. You can ask him what it’s like living at the North Pole, how many elves work at his toy factory, or what his reindeer eat.
He also enjoys hearing your news, so don’t forget to tell him what you’ve been doing all year, how school is going and whether you’ve behaved at home and tidied your room when asked. Santa likes to know if you’ve done any good deeds, so that your name doesn’t end up in the naughty book!
Then, tell Santa about some of the toys that you would like for Christmas – remember, he needs to find room in his magical sleigh for presents for all the good children, so only mention two or three items that you would really like.
Finally, post your Dear Santa letter, making sure you affix a stamp to the envelope! Even if you just address it to “Santa Claus, North Pole”, it should arrive, as he’s so famous. Although Santa’s village and workshop are hidden from prying eyes, all good children’s letters reach him by magic.
When it comes to replying to children’s letters, Santa has a massive job on his hands, as he must mail millions of letters, ensuring they arrive before Christmas. Selectabase provides a bulk mailing service, which would be the perfect solution to his dilemma. He could reply to everyone who sends him a letter without any problems.
As a bulk mailing specialist, we can take the hassle out of all your bulk mailing requirements, too! If you need any help with your mail outs, give us a call.