Family HistoryHistoryHolidays Dear Santa: Then and now By Aaron December 8, 2013 Share Share Copy Link “Dear Santa…” As Christmas nears, millions of children around the world are using these two words to begin their letters to Santa, with the hope he will bring what they want. These letters are often sent by obliging parents to Santa’s home at the North Pole. However, back in time, it was popular to send “Dear Santa” letters to a local newspaper, which published them. Our newspaper collection includes over 120 million pages dating back to 1609, and a quick search using the keywords “Dear Santa” brings really interesting results… With the holidays just around the corner, we took a look through MyHeritage’s historic newspaper collection on SuperSearch, to see what presents children were asking Santa for a century ago, and to compare them to today’s most popular gifts. The further back we looked, the more interesting – and frequently more simple – the requests became. It added color to the lives and times of our ancestors, particularly when we looked at what children are asking for this year. Here are the most commonly requested presents from 100 years ago: 1913: 100 years ago (based on research on “Dear Santa letters,” found in the historical newspaper collections on SuperSearch) Candy Nuts Rocking horse Doll Mittens/Gloves Toy Train Oranges Books Handkerchiefs Skates This is what’s topping the contemporary wish-list: 2013: What kids are asking Santa for this year (based on estimates by leading retailers (Toys’R’Us, Target, Walmart and Argos) Furby Boom Teksta Robotic Puppy LeapPad Ultra Flying Fairy Big Hugs Elmo Barbie Dream House Giggly Monkey Nerf Gun Ninja Turtles Lego In some ways, we can see the similarities, a doll for a Barbie, a book for a Leap Pad. Yet something as basic as fruit or clothing is often taken for granted today. Why not try searching yourself? Perhaps you’ll find your own grandparent’s “Dear Santa” letter. Simply type in a name, date and “Dear Santa” in the keywords section. Click and see what you discover. To view these records a Data subscription is required. If you don’t have one, you can read more information about our annual subscription which includes unlimited access to all historical records on SuperSearch. What did you ask Santa for growing up? Did you get your wish? Let us know in the comments below.