Kids’ letters to Santa Claus are one of the most magical parts of the season. They help Old Saint Nick decide just what to deliver, and they give his helper elves on the streets the insight they need to make Christmas wishes come true.
The tradition of writing letters to Santa dates back to the 1800s. Originally, it was Santa who wrote letters to the kids, particularly those on the naughty list who needed a little nudge to make their way to the nice list. Then in 1871, artist Thomas Nast drew an image of Santa sorting through mail that was sent to him, and the practice grew from there. Today it’s an integral part of Christmas for most kids, and also one that parents cherish.
While there’s no right or wrong way to write to Santa, kids can use a bit of direction with the process. Here are some pro tips straight from Santa’s mouth.
1. Make it personal
Writing a letter to Santa is a perfect way to practice letter-writing skills. Even a letter to Santa can have the five typical parts of a letter—heading, greeting, body, complimentary close, and signature. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to use proper punctuation and spelling. (He is watching, after all!)
Instead of just diving into all the toys they want, kids can tell Santa a little about themselves first. They can remind the big guy where they live, how old they are, and what they like to do.
Also, they can use the powers of persuasive writing to reflect a bit on why they deserve to be on his nice list and what they intend to do to stay on it until Christmas arrives.
Parent tip: sometimes the insights they give Santa may be those they haven’t shared with anyone else, which makes the letter a chance for parents to gain some insights about their kids … as well as what they really think about the holiday and themselves.
2. Points for politeness
To avoid sounding self-centered, kids can also include some questions for Santa, inquiring as to how things are up in the North Pole.
Don’t forget about Mrs. Claus, Rudolph, and the gang, and, you know, how Santa himself is doing. Of course, make sure to use the magic word as well: Please!
WATCH: Why Are We Always Trying To Teach Kids To Say "Please"?
3. Generate gratitude
Just as important as please is thank you.
Kids can express gratitude for what they got last year and thank Santa in advance for anything he chooses to give them this year. Including an ask for a friend or family member is also a sweet gesture that teaches the Christmas spirit.
If you thought you needed to worry about Santa Claus keeping tabs on whether you’ve been naughty or nice, wait until you meet Krampus.
4. Narrow things down
While the list in their heads may be miles long, kids can prioritize what they really want to see under the tree most.
While a few pie-in-the-sky wishes may be OK to include (e.g., a new baby brother when you know that’s never going to happen!), children should focus on things Santa can actually make in his workshop. It’s a fitting way to talk about priorities too. The magic has to end sometime, right?
5. Cultivate creativity
Encourage children to add drawings, stickers, and anything else they want to spruce up their letter. They can spice up their language with some fun, new words using the Thesaurus.
For Santa himself, some snazzy synonyms include Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, and Saint Nick.
7. How to actually send Santa letters
So, what to do with these cute-as-can-be correspondences once they’re written?
Address the envelope to “Santa Claus, North Pole.”
Then, it’s time for the magic! Write a response to your child (either on a separate piece of paper or on the back of their letter) and sign it “From Santa.” Prepare an envelope addressed to your child (return address: Santa Claus, North Pole). Put all of the pieces in one larger envelope, attach proper postage, and mail it to the following address:
NORTH POLE POSTMARK
4141 POSTMARK DR
ANCHORAGE AK 99530-9998
This will ensure the letter will arrive back home with an authentic North Pole postmark! If kids slip one into the mail without your help, they still may receive a response through the US Postal Service’s Operation Santa program.
Or, because it’s 2021, kids can send Santa an email or text message. There are a variety of services (many for a fee) that you can research.