Letter to Santa

Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga

Letter to Santa

Father Christmas is real!

By: Kevin Double


As more of us age the magic that was Father Christmas, or Santa Claus, fades like Polaroid memories from the 1980's. As our younger generations are encouraged to grow up, they can just Google answers to age old questions, and it is worth knowing that today's Wikipedia entry for Father Christmas does not actually suggest anything other than a real thing - so there you go, he (or she, or rather better the person called Santa or Christmas) is indeed real as Wikipedia says so!

Of course New Zealand folk have never forgotten this fact, despite the seasonal heat being somewhat at odds with the traditional white fur and red overcoat. So in celebration of the upcoming world wide tour that no promotor can top, and no act can beat, here is a selection of 'sightings' over the years. Included together with a few letters and supporting documents for the existence of the magic.

Of the items collated here I particularly enjoy the letter from Janice in 1982 for its restraint at getting to the point - I want a sewing machine - and chance to vent anger at her brother's most recent miscreant act!

A few days after publishing the original set on here I managed to find another letter to Father Christmas. This one was written in 1913 from 'Edna' and is rather more of an instruction than request, often making remarks about the quality of each request, possibly having been disappointed in previous years? It is also a poignant point in history as highlighted by Edna's final comment "..don't bring Germans things."

The photo of Santa in a small plane travelling to the Chatham Islands is also rather wonderful and perfect for a seasonal caption competition!

I've also included a couple of Santa tracking items, my fave being the RNZ interview with NORAD's PR rep in 2011. She reveals the origins of NORAD performing Santa tracking, or CONRAD as it was then. Have a listen around the 2 min mark - I do hope this isn't just some urban myth that's built up around the wrong number story!

Do you still need convincing about Father Christmas or Santa being as real today as ever? Then how about the sentiments in the final paragraph from a 1930's Evening Post, which are difficult to beat apart today, apart from adding Happy Christmas one and all!

"So here's to Santa Claus, the warmer of the world's heart, the friend of children, the inspirer of parents, the counsellor of young lovers and old bachelors! May his fabulous wealth never grow less! May there always be enough to go round, and a little left to be a seed store for his magic multiplying!" EVENING POST, VOLUME CX, ISSUE 149, 22 DECEMBER 1930, SUPPLEMENT

*Personal disclaimer: As these digitalNZ collections are not anonymous, I thought it best to add a little postscript of the authors understandings. I see the modern commercialisation of gift giving, combined with traditional gender stereotypes, and often a sole focus on just one or two of the world's religions, are things which need continued conversations. There are interesting periods throughout history, at least in 'western' cultures where the popularity of various Christmas traditions have grown or wained. So I guess if I was writing a note to the 'Father Christmas' of my childhood memory today, then instead of requesting an Acorn Electron, I would have a simple request that future generations will continue to recognise the spirit of human kindness and indeed see it celebrated on every day of the year, with something a simple as a smile between two strangers.

** But finally I will just say that I did indeed get the 1984 requested Acorn Electron computer...from Father Christmas I can only believe...and as well as playing games I learnt to program on it, then using this skill I managed to skip school assemblies as I was 'helping teachers set them up the computers at school'. Leaving school with a knowledge of, and growing collection of, Acorn computers lead directly to my first job. It was whilst working there I was able to return to college through which I obtained my higher education. This meant that many years later I had skills and points aplenty for emigrating to my new home in NZ, and ultimately I guess the impetus to be using the internet today to make this set in DigitalNZ.... funny how things turn out!

Subjects: Christmas, Father Christmas, Santa Claus, World tour, Real, Christmas letters, Letters to Santa

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