18. Santa letters

For every Christmas since I’ve worked for a weekly newspaper (that’d be four, if anyone’s counting), we’ve run letters to Santa from local kids. The letters have been hilarious – one kid once asked for a fake mustache and a snake – and also kind of sad – one girl asked for something nice for the policeman who helped her family.

They never fail to make me smile though, because for all the words the kids can’t spell at their young ages, they sure know how to spell all the video game stuff, Polly Pockets and Bakugan on their lists. They aren’t shy about telling Santa what they want, and in between their items listed, they make sure they ask Santa how he’s doing, how his reindeer are, what’s going on with Rudolf these days, oh and how’s your wife? If he needs to know how he can answer these questions, one kid this year provided a possible way he could communicate: “Once I have a laptop, e-mail me and let me know! And a really, really, really, super Merry Christmas to you.”

You’ll find all sorts of endings to the letters as well, ranging from Sincerely, Love and From to Your Friend, and my personal favorite, Your True Friend. That’s another thing they make sure to include too, how he’s nice and he’s their best friend. They check on him to make sure he’s alright, like one kid this year who wrote in his letter, “Having any trouble?” Another wrote “You are my best friend. Are you doing okay Santa Claus?”

The kids also want him to know what they’re leaving for him to eat, in case he’s curious. You know, cookies and milk, or as one kid wrote a few years ago – spaghetti and a Pepsi. One letter this year promises 35 cookies at his house for Santa to enjoy.

In looking through the ones we published this year earlier this evening, I found some great little excerpts I’ll share.

“For the rest, just surprise me, like some more Starwar figures and Xbox games.”

“I want a puppy for Christmas. I would like it to come with a pee mat and a pooper scooper, water and food….I want the puppy to sleep with me too. It would make me so happy.”

“I also want an iPod because my sister has an iPod shuffle and she brags. So, if I have one she will stop bragging.”

“I would like some new DS games and a necklace. I am not asking that much.”

“I want a DSi. I have a lot of reasons why I want one. So I don’t have to play with my dog, so I can be busy and so I can play by myself and I don’t have to be bored. And so I don’t have to watch TV. I will help my mom clean.”

“Make your elves work this Christmas because my friends and other people want lots of presents.”

“Do you like Christmas? Yes or no? Which one? Write your answer here ____”

“Christmas is my best holiday.”

“I help my mom with the turkey and I help my dad clean the house.”

“I will leave you a key to my door.”

“Can I have a pink DS please? It will make me not bored. I will be responsible for my DS. Like not throwing it.”

“I want a puppy. I want one the same size and cute like the one I petted. I will sleep with him. I will take care of him. I will feed him. I will not let him go out into the street. I will let him go to the restroom. I want it because he will lick us. If he is sleeping just leave him on the gray couch.”

“I want everything in the world, but not girl stuff.”

Lots of them want hamsters and several of them list reasons why they deserve their presents, because they’ve been good.

A couple chose to write letters to their parents this year, instead, and those were pretty entertaining.

Case in point:
“Everything is going fine here except for one thing. I need one more Barbie. A Barbie and Three Musketeers Barbie. How’s it going at work? I want a superhero for Christmas please. I don’t have enough Barbies. I will help you with the dishes every night. Then you maybe give me that toy for Christmas.”

Or this one:
“Remember the good times Mom and Dad. Please Mom and Dad. Dad and Mom I’ll buy you a present if you buy me a present. If you don’t I will still buy you a present.”

And then you have this letter, currently at the top of my list for favorite ones this year….

“Do not give the cat a cookie because she might throw up! Because the last time she threw up in my mom’s room and it didn’t make her happy. What I want for Christmas is my teeth. Four of them and some Tootsie Rolls.”

Part of the reason I like Santa letters is of course because they’re so funny and the kids come up with the most random things. But I think part of it is because I miss how easy life is when you’re a kid. You have few worries, even fewer responsibilities and the joy you have on Christmas morning because SANTA BROUGHT YOU ALL THOSE PRESENTS is kind of hard to replicate. Don’t get me wrong, I still get excited for giving and receiving presents Christmas morning, but it’s not the same as you get older.

My favorite part of the movie Elf – well, one of many – is the end when they’re all singing outside Central Park, everyone except for James Caan’s character, who doesn’t really believe in Santa. His son sees that he’s not singing and the second he starts to sing “Santa Claus is coming to town” Santa’s sleigh flies right over his head. I love it because it reminds me of that feeling when you’re a kid, when magic is still magic and can’t be explained away and there’s no reason not to believe there’s not a man in a red suit that brings presents to everyone all over the world in one night.

I believe in Santa. And I didn’t send him a letter this year, but maybe he’ll read this blog – you never know.

So, Santa, if you read this, I don’t have a really long list this year, but I would like a DVD player, Dexter Season 2 and a new Red Sox hat. You are my best friend. Love, Laura

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