Letters to Santa Claus

Letters to Santa Claus

The Elves, afterword by Emily Weisner Thompson, foreword by Pat Koch
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 10/05/2015
Format: Hardback 270 color illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-01793-2
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Officially Endorsed Indiana Bicentennial Legacy Project 2016Silver Medal, Holiday category, 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards2016 AAUP Public and Secondary School Library Selection, Outstanding Rating

For years, children and adults have stuffed their candid dreams, wishes, and promises into envelopes addressed to Santa Claus. Whether the envelopes come with stamps or without, are addressed to "The Big Red Guy at Jingle Bells Lane" or simply "To Santa," for over 100 years, millions of these letters have poured into Santa Claus, Indiana. Arriving from all corners of the globe, the letters ask for toys, family reunions, snow, and help for the needy—sometimes the needy being the writers themselves. They are candid, heartfelt, and often blunt. Many children wonder how Santa gets into their chimneyless homes. One child reminds Santa that she has not hit her brothers over 1,350 times that year, and another respectfully requests two million dollars in "cold cash." One child hopes to make his life better with a time machine, an adult woman asks for a man, and one miscreant actually threatens Santa’s reindeer! Containing more than 250 actual letters and envelopes from the naughty and nice reaching back to the 1930s, this moving book will touch readers’ hearts and bring back memories of a time in our lives when the man with a white beard and a red suit held out the hope that our wishes might come true.

Author Bio

Pat Koch is founder of the Santa Claus Museum & Village in Santa Claus, Indiana. Since 1943, she has worked tirelessly to make sure every child who writes to Santa Claus receives a response. Pat received her MA in Pastoral Ministry in 2002 at the age of 70.

Emily Weisner Thompson, Executive Director of the Santa Claus Museum & Village, is a historian and author of Images of America: Santa Claus. She holds a BA in American Studies from the University of Notre Dame and an MA in History from American University.


“Over 80 years of letters and envelopes addressed to Santa Claus capture the hopes and dreams of children and adults.”

“Yes, there is a Santa Claus!”
 — Mrs. Claus, The North Pole

“This colorful, coffee-table book reproduces the original letters—with their faded ink, stained paper, childish handwriting, and whimsical drawings—so readers feel as if they are sifting through boxes of old correspondence. . .The collection of letters is both heartbreaking and heartwarming.”
 — Bloom Magazine

“...This lovely book will make even the man in red smile.”
 — Fort Wayne Magazine

“This well-presented, historical collection—reflecting both the naughty and nice—will entertain and offer insights into the human condition. . . A heartwarming collection of original letters written to Santa and processed via the dedicated volunteer 'elves' of Santa Claus, Ind.”
 — Shelf Awareness

“Some of the most poignant, hilarious and unusual letters from around the world. . .”
 — The Examiner

“This sweet and nostalgic compilation of over 80 years of young believers’ holiday wishes (many in adorable handwriting) puts a unique spotlight on events of the day.”
 — Parade Magazine

“Poignant. . .The correspondents apologized for their poor handwriting and their recent misdeeds, and they offered to work alongside the elves. They also confided secrets: 'mama cries at night when she thinks we are asleep, because she has no money.' One prisoner in Indiana, hoping to be released in time for Christmas, asked Santa for a lawyer and an appeal bond.”
 — The New York Times

“Spanning nine decades, from the 1930s through the 2010s, the letters provide a window into the ever-shifting economic and cultural landscape of modern America. They are alternately silly and somber, hilarious and heartfelt. . .Reading Letters to Santa Claus won’t necessarily make you more optimistic about America’s future, but it will give you a deeper perspective on America’s past. It also will help everyone understand why the unique role of Santa Claus in the popular imagination is bound to endure.”
 — The Weekly Standard

“A heartwarming and delightful collection, dating back to the 1930s. . .”
 — Huffington Post

“The practice of writing to St. Nick tells a broader history of America itself. . .Notes sent to Santa are an unlikely lens through which to understand the past, offering a peek into the worries, desires and quirks of the times in which they were written.”
 — Smithsonian

“Often hilarious, the letters to Santa Claus, Indiana, are a gift to all of us.”
 — Indianapolis Monthly

“The town? Santa Claus. It's a place that sounds like some Christmas tale. But the town is real, with a history that is long, genuine and a bit peculiar. . .”
 — Will Higgins, USA Today / Indianapolis Star

“The missives will inform readers about the times in which they were written and are often very affecting. The first one, for example, is from a nine-year-old girl in the 1930s asking for warm gloves, shoes, and underwear for her siblings. Listing them by name, she closes the missive 'and the rest are dead.' Other letters name dozens of toys to bring, plaintively ask for the writer's heart's desire ('the thing I want most is a dog. dog. dog.'), or even try bargaining ('I will trade you my sister when she comes from the stork for a elf'). . .A touching gift book that also offers an unusual window into American history.”
 — Library Journal

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