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Letters to Santa, 1933

posted Dec 7, 2017, 7:50 AM by James Nennemann
Harry Wilkins
 
On December 14, 1933, the Hamburg Reporter published a page of Letters to Santa from area children who were anxiously anticipating the arrival of Saint Nick. The kids were exceedingly polite, with most beginning their letters by asking about the health of Santa, Mrs. Claus and even the reindeer, wishing them all the best. The letters reflected the desires of children typical for the era: boys were interested in cowboy suits and guns, electric trains, rocking horses, footballs, marbles (and the sack) and bikes.  Girls wanted dolls, buggies, tea sets, sewing materials, electric irons and clothes. Requests for fruit, especially oranges, were also common. All the children wanted anything related to Mickey Mouse, the Disney character having been engrained into the culture since 1928. The little mouse adorned watches, pop-up books, figurines, furniture and jewelry. 
 
Several boys asked for toy guns, but Royal Thompson hedged his bet by asking for a BB gun and a .22-caliber rifle. Mona Nixon wrote that Santa could surprise her with a gift of his choosing but asked for a “little car” for her brother. Some requests were a little unorthodox. Wendell McNabb wanted a wagon and a billy goat “that would work.” He didn’t ask for the harness. Wendell’s sister Wanda reminded Santa, in case he didn’t know, that she wanted a doll and her mother needed new dishes. Carroll Propp requested a Bible, a football and a Ouijaboard, presumably to communicate with departed spirits. Dawn Culley said she would like to go to Santa’s “house for dinner” but knew it was impossible. Instead, she would settle for a doll with long curls, a fountain pen set and books and promised she’dtelephone. Edgar Johnston needed a harness for his little dog Trixie and asked Santa to be sure to remember his friends Buddie, Bobbie and Norma Jean.
 
In 1933 the United States was in the depthsof an economic depression and sadly, some of the children’s letters reflect the harsh reality of the time. Several writers asked Santa to remember the poor children and orphanswhile others asked for life’s necessities only, things like underwear, socks and overalls. Donald Jensen said he would hang up both his shoes and stockings Christmas night, not because he was greedy but “to be sure to have my mother get something.” Anna Halley wrote simply: “I want you dear Santa to bring my grandmother a pair of bedroom slippers.” Margaret White asked for stockings and overshoes but avoided appearing frivolous by saying: “I want some other things but guess I won’t get them.”
 
At least one child wasn’t at all shy about asking for everything he wanted. Dale Anderson’s wish list included a Mickey Mouse watch, cowboy suit, sled, two pairs of boxing gloves, bicycle, electric train, toy gun and holster, car with electric lights and a football. We hope the children’s wishes, then and always, came true.
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