“Farm and Ranch Living” just published some “Dear Santa” letters from the 1920’s…..written by children in Fife, Texas to the local newspaper.
I want to share some of the highlights. I am confident the letters will warm your heart, and perhaps transport you back to your childhood, especially if writing to Santa was a tradition in your home, as it was in mine.
I’ve been the very best little boy lately, and if you don’t hurry and come, I don’t know if I can stay good much longer. I just want a few things this year, as daddy says Santa is as poor as he is. I’d like a tractor, a car, a ball, a bat, gloves and a lot of fruit and candy and nuts.
Love to you Santa,
We have tried to be good little children. Please bring me a velocipede, a tinker toy set, some fire crackers, a ball and some caps for my gun that you brought me last Christmas. Please bring my little sister a kiddie car, a doll that says “mamma” and a doll bed. Please bring us lots of fruit, nuts and candy.
John and Elizabeth Tedder
Dear Santa Claus,
I would like to have a new doll, as my old one has lost a leg, and I want a doll bed, and I want a doll that can walk and talk. And I would like to have some little dresses, also. Dear Santa don’t forget my little brothers J.D and Sid they want a coaster wagon.
I have been a good little boy. Will you please bring me a velocipede, a flashlight, some apples, and candy. Bring Grandpa a pair of socks and I’ll put some corn at the gate for your reindeer.
As Christmas is near at hand we thought we would write and let you know the things which we would like most as presents. W.D wants a school dinner bucket, a big rubber ball, Nellie Fay wants a doll, sand bucket and ball, Gladys wants a doll and we also want some nuts apples and oranges.
Your little friends,
W.D, Nellie Fay, and Gladys Bradley
I had to google “velocipede”; it was/is a toy tricycle. And a dinner bucket is a lunch box.
I found it interesting that so many of the letters included fruit, nuts and candy and couldn’t help but think this was the beginning of the “beloved” holiday fruitcake. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/fruitcake-101-a-concise-cultural-history-of-this-loved-and-loathed-loaf-26428035/
I also found it interesting that none of the children asked for ponies, and then quickly realized that perhaps they had plenty of those running around the farm. (Spoiled farm kids!)
And then I thought of my poor mother (and father) who had to scrape together enough money and energy to throw a party for 8 “needy” children every Christmas morning.
We would always get stuff we needed , strewn amongst the toys we so desperately wanted.
I don’t recall writing:
I have been a good boy , can you please bring me underwear, socks, mittens , and some notebooks for school?
I even remember getting a toothbrush in my stocking one year. Try giving today’s children a spiral bound school notebook or some dried apricots for Christmas. That would go over like giving your wife a vacuum cleaner for her birthday. (Hey! We all make mistakes!)
My mother sure was a magician back then. She could make $100 look like $1,000 under a Christmas tree. She could take a quart of egg nog and turn it into a gallon. (It was only a few years ago that I learned egg nog tasted better without being diluted by milk.)
My siblings and I still celebrate winter with a laugh , through tears, about our “Pepperidge Farm socks”. (Mom saved the plastic bread bags through summer like farmers split and stacked firewood-they functioned as waterproofing membranes for whatever ill-functioning boots we were assigned).
Don’t get me wrong, Santa and her helper always managed to put some memorable toys under the tree. Mostly ones that could be shared.
Greg got a football? Awesome, he needs someone to toss it to. Richard got a big toboggan? Great! We could all pile onto that! I got a set of those little green army men? Good! We needed more of those.
Warren got the yellow shiny Tonka dumptruck? “Hmmm” says mother to father as she checks the wrapping paper and notices “for Nicky” crossed off and “for Warren” scribbled over it.
Lia got white figure skates? What size?! Lesley got books and new glasses? Good for her, she needed the latter to enjoy the former. Rachel got ski goggles? Maybe she will get skis next year!!! Christmas morning was a pandemonium of flying wrapping paper and oohs and aahs.
I will always remember that glorious new sneaker smell that wafted out of the box as I tore open my pristine Chuck Taylor’s. Archie comics, and Mad Magazines were big hits, rolled up in our stockings, hung by the chimney with care.
Looking back on those incredibly joyous Christmas mornings, I have to bow my head and give a shout-out to our Mother.
I want nothing, and need nothing, for Christmas. You gave me everything a child could ever ask for.