23 Funny Historical Letters to Santa

iStock
iStock

At the end of the 19th century, illustrator Thomas Nast popularized our current version of Santa Claus: a fat, jolly man with a white beard and a red suit who lives at the North Pole. Nast’s cartoons in publications like Harper’s Weekly also helped spread the idea of sending St. Nick mail. By the late 1870s, American children had begun mailing their Christmas wish lists to Santa, but the Post Office considered these letters undeliverable. Around this time, newspapers began prompting children to send wish lists to them, which would then be published so that Santa (and parents) could read the letters all in one place. We’ve collected 23 funny historical letters from children to Santa Claus, as printed in newspapers across the U.S.

1. CONRAD FROM NEBRASKA (1896)

The Courier, Dec. 19, 1896

Conrad tries to mask his violent tendencies by interspersing the weapons between non-threatening gifts, but he shows his hand with that threat at the end.

2. CLIFFORD FROM NEBRASKA (1896)

The Courier, Dec. 19, 1896

Clifford sounds ... intense.

3. MARIE FROM NEBRASKA (1896)

The Courier, Dec. 19, 1896

“As I can not have it I will not ask for it" ... but I will mention it, just in case.

4. LYNWOOD FROM VIRGINIA (1903)

“I smashed everything you sent me last year." I won’t tell you what I want this year, but you better not mess up.

5. PAUL FROM VIRGINIA (1903)

This 4-year-old is very concerned about his infant brother’s lack of teeth. Since the local doctor has proved useless to rectify the situation, Paul hopes Santa might be able to lend a hand. He is magical, after all.

6. HARRY FROM MONTANA (1903)

Fergus County Argus, Dec. 16, 1903

Who knew keeping your feet dry was such an important part of staying off the Naughty list?

7. RAYMOND FROM WEST VIRGINIA (1907)

Clarence doesn’t sound very nice.

8. PERCY FROM WEST VIRGINIA (1907)

Poor Opal and Mildred. They’re just girls. Do girls even have preferences?

9. VIRGINIA FROM MISSOURI (1907)

Virginia understands that sometimes Santa needs to delegate.

10. ROBERT FROM TENNESSEE (1913)

The Commercial, Dec. 19, 1913

Old people get lonely.

11. WILLIE FROM FLORIDA (1915)

Sure, an axe sounds like an age-appropriate gift for a five-year-old.

12. ELEANOR FROM FLORIDA (1915)

“Bring both if possible.”

13. UNSIGNED LETTER FROM FLORIDA (1913)

This transplant from Maine would really like a basketball, but he doesn’t quite believe that a Santa Claus can exist in Florida, where there isn’t even any snow.

14. WALTER FROM FLORIDA (1915)

The Daytona Daily News, Dec. 17, 1915

Good choice not to act a pig, Walter.

15. MERLA FROM FLORIDA (1915)

The Pensacola Journal, Dec. 24, 1915

Merla will not be ignored!

16. ROY FROM FLORIDA (1915)

The Pensacola Journal, Dec. 24, 1915

A doll dressed in a cowboy suit could not be called Raymond. A lack of sailor suit is a dealbreaker.

17. MAXWELL FROM FLORIDA

The Pensacola Journal, Dec. 24, 1915

Ways to improve your chances of getting a pony from Santa, according to Maxwell Hudson: 1. Admit right off it’s expensive. 2. Say you will use it to take your sisters to school. 3. Promise to be grateful for anything Santa brings, so as not to seem greedy. 4. Make yourself seem extra kindhearted (and thus deserving of a pony) by showing concern for your fatherless neighbors. Did it work? We will never know.

18. MOXIE FROM TENNESSEE (1916)

Perhaps a kid known for being mean shouldn’t be given a firearm.

19. DICK FROM SOUTH CAROLINA (1916)

The County Record, Dec. 21, 1916

No, Santa certainly wouldn’t want to get “fastened in” the chimney.

20. JOHN FROM NEW MEXICO (1918)

World War I devastated Western Europe, decimating a generation of young men—and apparently killing the French Santa Claus.

21. MARY FROM NEW MEXICO (1922)

The Carlsbad Current, Dec. 15, 1922

Come on, Mary, Santa’s not a mind reader.

22. JEWEL FROM NEW MEXICO (1922)

The Carlsbad Current, Dec. 15, 1922

No apology for the door-slamming incident. That might have helped your cause, Jewel.

23. R.B. FROM NEW MEXICO (1922)

The Carlsbad Current, Dec. 15, 1922

R.B. is very thoughtful to provide such specific instructions; otherwise, Santa might get confused.

10 Rad Gifts for Hikers

Greg Rosenke/Unsplash
Greg Rosenke/Unsplash

The popularity of bird-watching, camping, and hiking has skyrocketed this year. Whether your gift recipients are weekend warriors or seasoned dirtbags, they'll appreciate these tools and gear for getting most out of their hiking experience.

1. Stanley Nesting Two-Cup Cookset; $14

Amazon

Stanley’s compact and lightweight cookset includes a 20-ounce stainless steel pot with a locking handle, a vented lid, and two insulated 10-ounce tumblers. It’s the perfect size for brewing hot coffee, rehydrating soup, or boiling water while out on the trail with a buddy. And as some hardcore backpackers note in their Amazon reviews, your favorite hiker can take the tumblers out and stuff the pot with a camp stove, matches, and other necessities to make good use of space in their pack.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Osprey Sirrus and Stratos 24-Liter Hiking Packs; $140

Amazon

Osprey’s packs are designed with trail-tested details to maximize comfort and ease of use. The Sirrus pack (pictured) is sized for women, while the Stratos fits men’s proportions. Both include an internal sleeve for a hydration reservoir, exterior mesh and hipbelt pockets, an attachment for carrying trekking poles, and a built-in rain cover.

Buy them: Amazon, Amazon

3. Yeti Rambler 18-Ounce Bottle; $48

Amazon

Nothing beats ice-cold water after a summer hike or a sip of hot tea during a winter walk. The Yeti Rambler can serve up both: Beverages can stay hot or cold for hours thanks to its insulated construction, and its steel body (in a variety of colors) is basically indestructible. It will add weight to your hiker's pack, though—for a lighter-weight, non-insulated option, the tried-and-true Camelbak Chute water bottle is incredibly sturdy and leakproof.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Mappinners Greatest 100 Hikes of the National Parks Scratch-Off Poster; $30

Amazon

The perfect gift for park baggers in your life (or yourself), this 16-inch-by-20-inch poster features epic hikes like Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Once the hike is complete, you can scratch off the gold foil to reveal an illustration of the park.

Buy it: Amazon

5. National Geographic Adventure Edition Road Atlas; $19

Amazon

Hikers can use this brand-new, updated road atlas to plan their next adventure. In addition to comprehensive maps of all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico, they'll get National Geographic’s top 100 outdoor destinations, useful details about the most popular national parks, and points on the maps noting off-the-beaten-path places to explore.  

Buy it: Amazon

6. Adventure Medical Kits Hiker First-Aid Kit; $25

Amazon

This handy 67-piece kit is stuffed with all the things you hope your hiker will never need in the wilderness. Not only does it contain supplies for pain, cuts and scrapes, burns, and blisters (every hiker’s nemesis!), the items are organized clearly in the bag to make it easy to find tweezers or an alcohol wipe in an emergency.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Hiker Hunger Ultralight Trekking Poles; $70

Amazon

Trekking poles will help increase your hiker's balance and stability and reduce strain on their lower body by distributing it to their arms and shoulders. This pair is made of carbon fiber, a super-strong and lightweight material. From the sweat-absorbing cork handles to the selection of pole tips for different terrain, these poles answer every need on the trail. 

Buy it: Amazon

8. Leatherman Signal Camping Multitool; $120

Amazon

What can’t this multitool do? This gadget contains 19 hiking-friendly tools in a 4.5-inch package, including pliers, screwdrivers, bottle opener, saw, knife, hammer, wire cutter, and even an emergency whistle.

Buy it: Amazon

9. RAVPower Power Bank; $24

Amazon

Don’t let your hiker get caught off the grid with a dead phone. They can charge RAVPower’s compact power bank before they head out on the trail, and then use it to quickly juice up a phone or tablet when the batteries get low. Its 3-inch-by-5-inch profile won’t take up much room in a pack or purse.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Pack of Four Indestructible Field Books; $14

Amazon

Neither rain, nor snow, nor hail will be a match for these waterproof, tearproof 3.5-inch-by-5.5-inch notebooks. Your hiker can stick one in their pocket along with a regular pen or pencil to record details of their hike or brainstorm their next viral Tweet.

Buy it: Amazon

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13 Great Gifts for Gamers

Nintendo/Insomniac/Amazon
Nintendo/Insomniac/Amazon

Since the earliest days of Atari, video game enthusiasts have looked forward to gaming systems, software, and accessories wrapped up under their tree. If you have a gamer in your life, take a look at 13 gifts from headsets to virtual reality that are guaranteed to feed their pixelized pastime.

1. Nintendo Switch - Animal Crossing: New Horizons Edition; $300

Nintendo/Amazon

You may be out of luck scoring the elusive PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X consoles in time for the holidays, but you might be able to land a Nintendo Switch for the gamer you're shopping for. This handheld console hybrid can be played on a TV or on the go, and it sports a top-tier line of games. The title included in this bundle, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, is one of the system's finest. (There are also plenty of Mario and Zelda titles for the old-school gamers on your list.)

Buy it: Amazon

2. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate; $60

Amazon

If your list calls for a Switch game, the latest installment in the hit Super Smash Bros. series is an absolute crowd pleaser. Video game legends from Pac-Man to Donkey Kong knuckle up in face-to-face confrontations both online and solo. An online code allows you to download the game.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Oculus Quest 2; $399

Amazon

Immerse yourself in virtual reality with the latest from Oculus. The Quest 2 features 50 percent more pixels than the first-generation model and doesn’t require a PC or console to work. There's also an emphasis on easy setup with this iteration, so anyone can take it out of the box and start playing. Games like Star Wars: Tales From the Galaxy’s Edge can even be accessed from your smartphone, making things even more simple.

Buy it: Amazon

4. HyperX Cloud Flight Gaming Headset; $126

Amazon

For gamers who like to tackle rivals online, this HyperX headset features a noise-canceling microphone and memory foam cushioning. Over 30 hours of battery life means players can stay unplugged but ready for marathon gaming sessions.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Norton 360 for Gamers; $30

Amazon

Online gamers are sometimes at increased risk for having their personal information compromised. This special edition of Norton 360 offers real-time monitoring to ensure gamer tags are secure and that there are no viruses lurking around the corner. There’s also cloud storage for gaming clips.

Buy it: Amazon

6. AmazonBasics Nintendo Switch Playstand; $10

Amazon

This inexpensive and handy stand helps keep Nintendo Switch systems propped upright, allowing gamers to play without going into handheld mode at their desk or coffee table (perfect for when the TV is occupied).

Buy it: Amazon

7. Twitch Gift Card; $25 and Up

Amazon

With a Twitch gift card, gamers can subscribe to their favorite channel or use it on programs like Twitch Turbo, which allows them to watch videos and streamers without ads. If you’re having a socially distanced holiday, it can be delivered via email to the recipient.

Buy it: Amazon

8. AmazonBasics PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 Controllers Charging Station; $19

Amazon

Got a PlayStation 4 addict in your life? This docking station offers a place to store their DualShock 4 controllers and doubles as a charging station. A green light indicates when they’re ready to go.

Buy it: Amazon

9. HyperX Alloy Origins Core Keyboard; $99

Amazon

Many PC and console gamers rely on keyboards to execute commands. This HyperX peripheral has LED lighting, responsive keypads, and can save three different gamer profiles. You can use it on a PC, PlayStation 4, or Xbox One.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Paladone PlayStation Controller Alarm Clock; $30

Amazon

Make sure gamers get sweet dreams with this officially licensed alarm clock shaped like a classic PlayStation controller. Use the controls to set the time.

Buy it: Amazon

11. and 12. Marvel's Spider-Man and Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales; $26-$50

Amazon/Insomniac

The PlayStation game everyone is raving about is a kinetic trip through Spider-Man’s life. Soar through New York City in web-slinging action with Spider-Man: Game of the Year edition, which collects all of the game's post-release extra side missions. You can also opt for Spider-Man: Miles Morales. This sequel shifts the focus to a brand-new Wall Crawler, who you may remember from 2018's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. That title is expected to ship November 12.

Buy it: Spider-Man: Game of the Year Edition ($26), Spider-Man: Miles Morales ($50)

13. Razer Kishi Controller; $80

Amazon

Is the gamer on your list more into mobile games? This controller provides more options for commands and fits comfortably over most Android smartphones, basically turning a phone into a full-fledged handheld console.

Buy it: Amazon

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