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Christmas Past: Revisiting ‘Letters to Santa’ from 1977-2007

Free Press Archives
(L-R) Amanda Stamper drew this Christmas card-type scene in 1997; Colleen Frei and Mike McDonald both showed some artistic talent in 1987.

Free Press Archives (L-R) Amanda Stamper drew this Christmas card-type scene in 1997; Colleen Frei and Mike McDonald both showed some artistic talent in 1987.

Each year as Christmas dawns, it’s a fun trip down memory lane to look back on past Santa letters that have appeared in the Free Press.

In 1977, third graders wrote about the meaning of Christmas while second graders simply asked for items and chit-chatted. The most popular items asked for in Idaho County that year? In order of the number of times requested: Hot Wheels, train set, Stretch Armstrong, Barbie, Mouse Trap Game, Baby Alive, logger truck and a King Kong punching bag.

In 1987, most children explained “what Christmas means to me,” but a few snuck in some wishes, too. The most popular? Remote control cars or airplanes, money, bicycles, roller skates and GI Joe action figures.

By 1997, it was full-on Christmas wish list mode. The most popular items by number of times asked for (10 asks on down to three) were Giga Pets, skis or snowboard, CD player, trampoline, Nintendo 64, Jurassic Park toys, remote control Monster truck, Barbie, VCR, Game Boy, puppy, kitten, K’nex and Legos.

By 2007, the prices of the gift requests went up quite a bit with the top wishes being in the electronic video game category for X-Box (12), Gameboy (9), iPod (6), Wii (4), Playstation III (4) and Nintendo (3). These were followed by requests for a laptop, cell phone, snowboard, gun, CDs, MP3 player, skateboard, Polly Pocket and Barbie.

Below, revisit some of our past letters through the decades.

December 1977

What is Christmas?

The birth of Jesus and the star of Bethlahan. And the three wise men and sheperds. And most of all Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus.

Tammy L. Scott

What does Christmas mean to me?

Having Grandpa and Grandma for Christmas dinner. The birth of Christ. Opening our presents on Christmas Eve. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a tree.

Bobby Mager

Christmas means aunts, uncles, cousins, presents, Santa Claus, the lord, friendship and happiness.

Timothy Bodine

Dear Santa Claus I want a beenbag. My dad works at the REA he works on Pols. My mom babysits. Have a nice Christmas Santa Claus. At my house you can go down my Chimmany.

Love, Daryl Crea

Dear Santa,

I would like Max machine and a now bike tire for my bike. How are you doing up there. Is it to cold are is it to hot up there.

Love, Leland Allen Long

Dear Santa I am a good little boy. How are you doing In the snow deep and cold. The letter that you wrote Nick was very good. We are working on our porch. How is Miss Santa and Rudolph and the reindeer. And this is what I want for Christmas. guitar, and a jump ball, Stretch Armstrong, cowboy hat, plastic gorilla.

Love Joe Slichter,

White Bird

Dear Sant Claus.

ida had been a good boy. My mom works for school. My Dad work for the farm bureau. I live in the country. I wat a ball and a play car and a play traen.

Love Scott Shira.

December 1987

Dear Santa,

For Dec. 25 I want a remote control car. And a bow and arrow. Santa I am having something for you after Christnas I got to Ruebens Hall.

Love, Ryan Frei

Dear Santa,

I got my christmas tree I decorated my tree It’s only 1 more weeks till Christmas I hope I get lots of toys.

Dean Klement

Joy at Christmas

Christmas is a time for joy.

At Christmas we should all be joyful. Opening presents is a joy. Being with your family is a joy too. At Christmas we should always have joy in our hearts. Santa’s elves have joy in their hearts. So let’s have joy in ours.

Melissa Lane

December 1997

What I like best about Christmas is the Christmas tree. Because the whole family goes to pick out a tree. Then we come home and decorate the tree and we sing Christmas songs.

Andy Schumacher

I think Christmas is nice because there’s lots of snow to make a snow man with. I like getting gifts and it makes me feel like someone is thinking of me.

Diana Crabtree

I love my mom and dad because they give me lots of presents. And I like to have my mom and dad. I like having Christmas it is fun to have Christmas. I like to give a present to my mom and dad.

Ricky Miller

Christmas is love, peace, sharing, caring, Jesus’s Birth, learning and helping. The thought is that someone cares about you. And that you care about someone too.

Casey Stuivenga

I would give a hug to my grand teacher, Mrs. Vopat I am going to give it loveingly because she is so grand.

Falina Banta

Love is a good thing. My mom and dad need love. I would give it to them in person. They miss some people back where I use to live.

Jenna Bailey

If I could give a gift of love I would give it to my family and my Grandma and Grandpa because I love them a lot and because they love me too.

Corey Koole

December 2007

Dear Santa,

I hope yuou have had a good year. I have had a very, very good yaer. Exept at the starting of the yaer. I was a jerk, Then I got better. I would relly like a Nintendo 64 for Christmas.

Your friend, Jake Taylor

p.s. I relly relly relly relly want a Nintendo 64.

Dear Santa,

I would like a trampoline. I would like to have a hand held Bass fishing game called Mystery Mansion. I would liek to get a snow board and skis.

I have been helping my mom do chores. I have been taking my old toys and fixing them for tots.

Love, Antony Hoene

Dear Santa,

I would like some new clothes, like a new dress. And also maybe a fish, too. And I would really like a computer. I would like a Giga Pet also.

I just made a wreath for my mom and dad. I am making something for my brother. And I take the time to help my mom set the table.

Love, Kendra Loeber

Dear Santa,

I hope my aunt has a boy because they already have three girls and if they have another girl they will have four girls. I want maybe a pair of skis because I have not ever skied in my life that is what I want.

Sincerely, Cameron Lothspeich

Dear Sant,

I would like the Little House on the Prairie book set because I love to read. I would like a trampoline because I love to jump. I would like a game for my own – there is one called Dream Phone.

I like to help my mom wrap presents from my grandmas and grandpas. I like to help my grandma and my mom decorate the tree. I made a little ornaments for the tree. I hope you have a nice Christmas.

Love, Briana VonBargen.

Dear Santa,

I want a fake pistol. I want it because I don’t have anything else to do.

I like school a lot and I had a good time. Jonathon moved to Nevada. I got to go with my friend to stores. I got to spend the night at my friend’s house. I ate with him, too for dinner. We had pizza, and for breakfast had cereal.

from: Frank

Lester Jensen

Dear Santa Claus,

Could you get me a little notebook so I can write in it. I would put it in my pocket and write about things I’ve seen.

The things I wish is to let Crystal’s family have a good Christmas. Their family is poor. Let Crystal have a good Christmas, too, please. Have a good Christmas and tell your elves that too, please.

Love, Josh Weich

Dear Santa.

I am going to help Mrs. Decker. I am going to shovel her sidewalk every time it snows. I’m not going to tell her. I’m going to surprise her.

Please bring a CD player with a tuner and a tape player with a recorder in it. So I can listen to music. I really like music.

Love. Chad Kaufmann

Dear Santa,

I would like a water gun, Flame Thrower, sweats and I would like my aunt to have a baby girl.

Sincerely, your friend Joel Wasem


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