Nurturing Christmas in children’s hearts

Published 10:00 am Sunday, December 24, 2023

An Editorial Opinion of The Demopolis Times

Children write letters to Santa every year, sending thousands of missives through the U.S. Postal Service addressed to Santa Clause at the North Pole. The carefully crafted notes, penned in a hesitant, developing script, express the child’s good deeds, request presents, and thank St. Nick for his generosity, followed by a heart-felt “I love you Santa.”

As America’s image of Santa developed in the early 1800s, journalists helped to shape his trademark appearance and during the Civil War, cartoonist Thomas Nast created illustrations to accompany the poem now known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas” – forever imprinting the familiar visual reference still familiar to children around the world. 

Email newsletter signup

Nast drew Santa Claus, complete with his red suit and white beard, sitting at a desk,

reading his mail and sorting letters from children’s parents into two piles – one naughty and the other nice. A few years later, Nast drew the first known image of someone using the U.S. mail system to send letters to Santa, depicting a young man placing a letter to “St. Claus North Pole” into a mailbox on a snowy evening.

The postal service was at first at a loss for how to deliver the hopeful letters and for many years transferred them to the Dead Letter Office. In 1911, the Postmaster General ruled all letters “addressed plainly and unmistakably to Santa Claus” could be delivered to those who would answer them and in 1989, Santa was issued his own ZIP Code.

Today there are many ways for children to send letters to Santa – via the mail, an online service or by a personal visit with the jolly man himself. 

The Demopolis Times staff takes great pride in being a part of that effort by inviting children to write letters which are published the week before Christmas. Each December, our staff enjoys being Santa’s helpers and helping to nurture the hope of Christmas in the hearts of local children.

The best part is knowing that St. Nick has his eye on The Demopolis Times. He won’t need to wait for the postman’s delivery and can read each letter in print or online at www.demopolistimes.com

Our staff wishes you a very Merry Christmas. We hope you enjoy reading the children’s letters as much as we did. Our staff is grateful for every teacher, parent or caregiver, and school administrator who helped the children submit their letters.