Hints of history: Dear Santa, I have been good this year | News, Sports, Jobs
Letters to Santa Claus are still popular today. Children loved their parents reading them when they were published in local newspapers The Minot Daily News and Ward County Independent.
One of the earliest requests during a visit to Santa Claus in Minot in December 1919 was from a small child asking for a pair of brown shoes – no doll, candy or ribbons – just a pair of shoes. Another little girl wanted her daddy back who was in the army at the time.
In 1941, Duane, writing about Harvey, says he was a good boy. For Christmas he wanted a Lone Ranger suit, mask and Lone Ranger holster and gun. Duane was 6 years old and in first grade.
Donna, a little Surrey girl, wrote a poem for Santa Claus…“Christmas only comes once a year, so please bring me some Christmas cheer.” In addition to being in a good mood, she wished for a cutter (sleigh) so that she could hitch up her Shetland pony and ride along. Donna also asked Santa to bring something for every child in Surrey.
In 1954, practically all were good.
“We were three good boys” said Jerry, Larry and Bobbie from Minot. “Please bring us a tractor, shovel, truck, cowboy suit, gun and holster. We put coffee on the table for you.”
The Minot brothers Bruce and Mike, 6 and 2-1/2 respectively, told Santa it was them “pretty good” and wanted a gun that shoots ping-pong balls, a train, cowboy boots, a cash register, and an airplane.
“We’ll wait and see what you bring with you. Whatever you think is best.” Bruce wrote.
Also Gloria, Donna and Rickey from Minot, who felt good, were looking for a doll with a pink dress and hat, a doll with a green dress and a big airplane. Other letters from out of town included one from Gary and Carol of Velva. Gary, 8, wrote a letter simply saying: “I’d like a pawn set for Christmas.” His sister, 5, wanted a doll and a bathtub. Linda, Butch and Karin von Sawyer were looking for dishes, baking sets, gravel trucks, sleds and pull toys for 1 1/2 year old Karin.
Some of the letters Santa Claus received in 1958 were full of detailed requests, like that from Richard, who lived in Minot and chose his items from a large Christmas catalogue. On page 386 of the catalog was a Cape Canaveral Rocket Set priced at $5.79. After Richard listed all the items he wanted, he totaled them up to $45.49 at the end of the letter, but Santa noticed his addition was wrong. Patricia Lynn, who lived in Foxholm, wrote a really colorful letter using red and blue pens. She said, “I want heels, a record player and some vinyl. I will put biscuits and milk on the table for you.”
Another interesting letter to Santa was from Sharon in Kenmare. She wrote, “Were you busy?” and proceeded to tell him that “She sure was” because she started school that year (1958) and liked it very much. One of the gifts she wanted was a real watch because she could tell the time now.
Kenneth of Minot wrote for his whole family. “Please bring Greggy a toy truck. I’d like a clock. Pammy would like a buggy. Sally would like a cot. Julie wants a rattle. Gary would like a big truck. Thank you very much.”
Kathy Anderson of Rt. 3, Minot wanted Santa to bring a play washing machine because she didn’t have one. She also wanted a cowboy or cowgirl doll, preferably the girl type. Mike Anderson wanted a cowboy hat, a Colt .45 and a Davy Crocket rifle that put out bullets. Connie Anderson wanted a statue horse. Kathy told Santa her father didn’t want anything, but her mother would like $200.
Another interesting letter to Santa was written in 1960 by Virginia Kraft, who lived in Granville. She thought Santa was particularly busy this year and told him she would like a jewelry store and a Christmas book. she added “I wish it at least for Christmas.”
Letters to Santa revealed long lists of gifts that children wanted under their Christmas tree. In 1965 boys demanded Johnny Express, the man from UNCLE and Agent Zero M. Weapon-Set. Girls weren’t just asking for dolls, they were asking for Baby First Step, Baby Boo, and Barbie dolls.
Santa Claus received letters in 1969 from children living in Parshall who thought he couldn’t find them. Margaret Grady explained her whereabouts thus: “We live in the White House near my grandpa’s Bluestones house.” Kenneth Lyson said: “I live across from Café Abob in a small house. If you can’t find me, just ask at the café.” And Brad Zacher explained: “I live northwest of Parshall in a big white house. When the lights are on, it looks like a big Christmas tree.”
One of the first letters Santa Claus received in December 1965 was from Janet (Missy) Willoughby of 8th Street in Minot asking Santa for a walking doll. “Please, please.” The letter included two Boys Town postage stamps for mailing. Susan March on West Central called for a “Vacuum cleaner”, while Colleen, also from Minot, wanted a statue of Santa Claus.
Terry Sessing, from rural Minot, included a calendar with his letter so Santa wouldn’t forget the big day. Larry Mortenson related to 40th St. SE, “I was a good boy. I help clean my room and help my mom and I want a 5 star coverall. Santa, that’s all.”
Brinda Walter von Berwick wrote: “I’d like a baby’s first step and some clothes for it and a nursing kit and a time bomb. Goodbye Santa Clause.”
Santa Claus would certainly not go hungry when he arrived at the Hankla house on 14th Street in Minot. Brian Hankla writes: “I’ll put some crackers and milk under the tree.” And Barbara Jean Hankla, Brian’s sister, wrote in a separate letter: “We’ll have biscuits and milk under the tree.” Another snack awaited Jolly Santa when he reached Towner, as reported by eight-year-old Dale Erhardt: “We’ll put a large glass of milk and some biscuits on the kitchen table for you, and a large carrot for Rudolfh.”
At some point, every child wonders if they still believe in Santa Claus. One such letter came from Minot two years ago when a boy told Santa that his older brother wasn’t sure if he believed and didn’t send his letter. He sent that letter a week later. Even though Santa knew he was being tested, he managed to calm him down (at least for another year). Merry Christmas Santa!