Writing to Santa
Writing letters to Santa is an age-old tradition. Of course, today Santa is tech-savvy, and children are now able to e-mail him letters, as well as track his flight around the world…but he also has a strong history with newspapers.
That worked out well in 1934, when children of the Great Depression began to dream of sugarplums and other Christmas fancies. Money was tight everywhere, as the country was well into the Great Depression, but there was always the hope that Santa would come. The children still sent letters—but many children around Minot addressed these letters to the care of the Minot Daily News.
A letter from Dolores Donahue from Flaxton was published on this date in 1934. She wrote after learning of other letters written to Santa that appeared in the newspaper. Dolores was six, and wanted a doll for her and her two younger sisters—along with all of the proper accoutrements.
Richard Ehr also wrote, requesting a truck and a football and a car, and a dress for [his] mother, a truck for his brother, a doll for his sister, and “a cowboy suit.”
Gene, Buddy and James Welch wrote, too; they asked first that Santa remember the rest of the family—and then they asked for a pair of skates, an air rifle, a box of dominoes, and various other toys and trinkets.
Writing to newspapers provided a cheap and easy means to spread the word to Santa. Of course Santa would read the newspaper! And after all, evidence of Santa’s very existence was confirmed in the New York Sun back in 1897, after Virginia O’Hanlon wrote this note:
"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.’ Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?”
By now, the editor’s response is well-known: “No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.”
More than one hundred years later, he does still exist—in the news, in the hearts of children, and also in some high-tech gadgets.
Dakota Datebook written by Sarah Walker
Minot Daily News, December 14, 1934