A Gen Xer Reflects on Writing to #SantaClause

If you’re a Gen X parent and you celebrate Christmas, you may have noticed that writing letters to Santa today has evolved quite a bit since our childhood. I’m an Xer, and my favorite holiday ritual this time of year as a child was writing my annual letter to Santa Clause. I would detail my good behavior over the past year, downplay any questionable behavior, and proceed to list all of the presents I wanted him to bring me.

The process was exciting, to say the least! With the Sears Wish Book Catalog sprawled open in front of me, I would compile a dream list of items and then imagine where they would live in my bedroom once they arrived. (For example, Transformers were too fragile for the toy box. They were always upgraded to shelf status.)

The following is an actual letter I wrote to Santa in 1985. This one is pretty “listy” and straight to the point.

Author’s note: I have a late December birthday, so I always separated my wish list into TWO distinct categories, birthday and Christmas, as though Santa had nothing better to do than worry about my Christmas AND birthday needs. Also, try not to be too blown away by my artwork. I’m assuming the figures I drew were of me, but I can’t be 100% sure.

Scott's Wish List

Adorable. To clarify some concerning spelling mistakes, the list reads:

For Christmas:

Roller skates
GI Joe

For Birthday:
Tops (baseball cards)

Digging out this 30-year-old list made me reflect on two things:

  1. Had I never taken a spelling class up until that point?
  2. How has writing letters to Santa Clause changed since my Gen X childhood?

For generations past, the process was pretty straightforward. Young Baby Boomers and Generation Xers would write their Christmas wish list, give it to their parents with instructions to get it to Santa Clause, and then hope for the best.

Today, the process has evolved. Even tech-savvy and worldly Millennials, who are now all officially adults, didn’t have the access to Santa Claus that Gen Edgers (born after 1996) have today.

The following are just a few ways kids today are corresponding with Chris Cringle:

  • Northpole.com. Kids can message Santa directly, and Mom or Dad can provide Santa some details to help customize his letter back to the kids.
  • If your kids are impatient, have them type an instant message to Santa using aletter4santa.com. Once sent, Santa will send a response immediately, complete with clip art. After this exchange, kids can check to see whether they made Santa's naughty or nice list.
  • Santa's elves will write back to people who send letters to Santa’s “other” home in Indiana. Mail a note to Santa Claus, P.O. Box 1, Santa Claus, IN 47579 by Dec. 21 to get a written response from St. Nick!
  • You can listen to audio from Santa himself as he gives youngsters instructions on how to contact him at elfontheshelf.com.
  • You can have someone from the North Pole (Santa or one of his elves) call your home and leave your kids a message for free at ChristmasDialer.com.
  • By using saintnick.org and filling in some basic information, Santa will be sure to reply to your wish list.
  • And of course, today you can find Santa on Twitter.
  • For those of you who still want to communicate with the North Pole the old fashioned way, the United States Postal Service will actually deliver letters to Santa. And bonus—they give parents an easy way to make sure Santa writes back. Details are on their website.

What was on your Christmas list growing up? Did you always get what you asked Santa for? Was your Christmas list less materialistic than mine? Were you a better artist and speller than me? What was the one toy you just HAD to have when you were growing up? Sound off in the comments and let us know! And in the meantime, have a look at this recent infographic by ebates.com that lists the most popular holiday toys of the past. Did your favorite make the list?

To all the Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Edgers: a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!