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In One Ear: Dear Santa

Letters to Santa from long ago
By Elleda Wilson

The Daily Astorian

Published on December 22, 2017 12:01AM

According to the Oregon Digital Newspaper Program, children were writing Dear Santa letters to newspapers by at least 1874, certain Santa could not miss a letter that had been published in a newspaper ( Apparently, the oldest such letter found in Historic Oregon Newspapers is from 1890, in The Daily Morning Astorian, dated Dec. 19:

“Griffin & Reed of this city are daily in receipt of a number of letters addressed to Santa Claus. The following is a specimen of one received yesterday from Gray’s River ... ‘Dear Santa Claus; bring my little sister a doll and a doll wagon and some candy and some nuts and some peanuts, and a tin horn. Bring me an air gun and a buck saw and a knife and some candy and some nuts and some peanuts. Frank.’”

From the Oregon City Courier, Dec. 18, 1908: “Dear Santa Claus, I want a horse, a train of cars, a drum and a football. I guess you can send a horn. My Grandpa Burns is the policeman, and I’ll tell him not to bother you on Xmas, cause he might think you was a robber going down the chimney. Please send my little sweetheart Willa Jones a dollie and a go-cart. Her stocking is small, but you can put them under the foot of her bed. Good-bye, Santa Claus, from your loving friend, Orville E. Burns. P.S. Please bring Emma Ellis a real live horse. She wants one.”

As a parting shot, this whopper from The Sunday Oregonian is dated Dec. 21, 1919: “Dear Santa Clause. I’ve been waiting for you a long time. I am nine months old. I want a trunk full of silk dresses and a necklace with my Mothers picture and a ring, with a ruby. I’ve been a awful good girl. Arvilla”


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