13 Sweet Vintage Letters to Santa—from Almost 100 Years Ago

Sweet, vintage letters to Santa from Texas farm kids recall a simpler, more generous time.

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In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, we sometimes forget that Christmas hasn’t always been a time of stress, hectic shopping, expensive decoration, and frantic preparation.

Barbara Finlay found a treasure trove of letters that children in her hometown of Fife, Texas, wrote to Santa via their local newspaper, the Brady Standard. These letters, written in the 1920s and ’30s, glow with the spirit of a simpler time. Fife is almost deserted now, but it once boasted a population of 500 people, mostly farm families. Barbara found it especially touching that the kids often expressed modest wishes for themselves but asked Santa to remember children who were less well-off.

Here are just a few of these letters, shared in the hope that readers might recapture some of the same spirit of generosity, simplicity and community. Whether you’re at a Secret Santa or around the yuletide fire, they’ll help you get in the holiday spirit, and make you want to believe. 

Dear Santa Claus:
I thought I would write while I have time. I want a watch and a pistol. I want a toy flute and a toy truck and a pencil sharpener. Thank you.
From your friend,
Tom Bradley, Jr. (1927)


Dear Santa:
After reading your letter in the Brady Standard, I thought it was about time to write to you. I hardly know what to ask you for as you have been so good to me every Christmas. The only thing I select is a pair of bedroom slippers.
Your friend,
Voncile Duderstadt (1920)

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Dear Santa:
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 (1920)

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Dear Santa:
Please bring me a pop gun, a sack of marbles and some candy and nuts.
Your little friend,
Cyril Farmer (1920)

Downey, California: 1947. A group of children line up to mail their letters to Santa at special mail boxes set up through out the town by the Chamber of Commerce. Volunteer women will answer each letter.Underwood Archives/UIG/REX/Shutterstock

Dear Santa:
Will you please bring my little brother and I a knife and a pair of nice leather gloves. And Santa, if you will, please bring me a nice fountain pen and my little brother a car. I have a little sister three years old. Bring her a doll that will say mamma and a little doll bed and lots of nuts and candy.
Love to Santa,
Charles and Floyd Tedder (1923)

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Dear Santa:
Will you please bring me a scooter-scoot, a horn, a football, a blackboard and a box of handkerchiefs for Christmas and if you have anything else for me send it to some other little boy who has no parents. I try to be a good boy.
Your loving friend,
A. M. Finlay, Jr. (1923)

Dear Santa Claus:
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. Now Santa, don’t make a mistake and bring me a doll, ‘cause I’m no “sissy;” I’m a real “man.” Soon 9 years old.
Love to you, Santa.
Forrest Roberts (1930)

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Dear 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 you brought me last Christmas. Please bring Little Sister a kiddie car, a doll that says “Mamma,” and a doll bed. Please bring us lots of fruit, nuts and candy.
Bye-bye, Santa.
John Gordon and Elizabeth Maurine Tedder (1924)

Dear Santa:
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.
Your friend,
Robert Pearce (1930)

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Dear Santa Claus:
I will write you a little letter and tell you of a few things I would like to have. I would like to have a new doll, as my old one has lost a leg, and I want a doll bed. 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.
Charlotte Painter (1925)

A Nurse With Children Surrounded By Christmas Presents At The Children's Hospital Hampstead - Christmas 1936.ANL/REX/Shutterstock

Dear Santa:
I sent a letter to the Brady Standard. I want you to know I am going to write to the Brady Standard every Christmas. I want you to bring me a cap and a sweater for my doll and a big ball. There are many other little boys and girls that want Christmas presents. So I will go now.
Yours truly,
Golda Eileen Utsey (1930)

Dear Santa Claus:
I would like to have some chocolate candy and bananas and oranges and apples and peaches.
Your friend,
Lillian Roberts (1921)

Dear Santa:
I will tell you what I want. I want an embroidery set, set of dishes and a doll. I won’t ask for too much, as I’m afraid you can’t get around to all the children.
Your friend,
Una Ranne (1925)

Keep the nostalgia going with these 18 photos of what Christmas looked like 100 years ago.

Farm & Ranch Living
Originally Published in Farm & Ranch Living