Santa letters originated as missives children received, rather than sent, with parents using them as tools to counsel kids on their behavior. For example, Fanny Longfellow (wife of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) wrote letters to her children every season, weighing in on their actions over the previous year (“I am sorry I sometimes hear you are not so kind to your little brother as I wish you were,” she wrote to her son Charley on Christmas Eve 1851). This practice shifted as gifts took on a more central role in the holiday, and the letters morphed into Christmas wish lists. But some parents continued to write their kids in Santa’s voice. The most impressive of these may be J.R.R. Tolkien, who every Christmas, for almost 25 years, left his children elaborately illustrated updates on Father Christmas and his life in the North Pole—filled with red gnomes, snow elves, and his chief assistant, the North Polar bear.
While sending a letter to Santa Claus might seem like a pretty straightforward process, it’s had a colorful—and at times controversial—history.
If one work can be credited with helping kick start the practice of sending letters to Santa Claus, it’s Thomas Nast’s illustration published in the December 1871 issue of Harper’s Weekly. The image shows Santa seated at his desk and processing his mail, sorting items into stacks labeled “Letters from Naughty Children’s Parents” and “Letters from Good Children’s Parents.” Nast’s illustrations were widely seen and shared, being in one of the highest-circulation publications of the era, and his Santa illustrations had grown into a beloved tradition since he first drew the figure for the magazine’s cover in 1863. Reports of Santa letters ending up at local post offices shot up the year after Nast’s illustration appeared.
Whatever your views there is no doubt that at this time there is a lot merit in identifying what you would really appreciate being given. Appropriate gift giving saves a lot of unwanted items ending up in landfill.
So let us turn our minds around to how we might repurpose the traditional letter to Santa and what sort of wish list we might generate.
A Courier Might Just Bring Me
I am very dependent upon YouTube reviews on decks now. After having been disappointed by some that I have purchased on a whim, I now take quite some time before ordering anything.
It will come as no surprise, given my habit of taking journeys of imagination, that I would love to acquire The Weaver’s Oracle, which has been around for quite awhile. The Weavers’ Oracle book and 52 cards are created from thirty years of Carolyn’s paintings, mythic tales and work with women’s archetypal mysteries. It forms a wild alchemy of images and words that lay down original and inspiring trails into oracle lands.
Two other decks, which like the Weavers Oracle feels out of my reach thanks to exorbitant postage costs when having things delivered to Australia are by Faina Lorah.
I would also like to find, on my doorstep, some recycled bits and bobs for my cubby/studio down in the back yard.
- Cool home made Tibetan style Prayer Flags
- Unusual pots to plant lovelies that flourish in shaded areas
- A full sized skeleton
- Solar powered fairy lights
- A Crystal Skull
Over to You
I can dream about getting something like this Crystal Skull. It would stretch the budget but, whatever! No one said I couldn’t lust for something like this.
Perhaps you will share your letter and let us see what is at the top of your wish list. For that matter, folk on Instagram love seeing stuff, so maybe go for broke and show a few witchy things that you would love to acquire.