How to Write a Letter to Santa
Teach your child how to write a letter to Santa Claus and acquire meaningful values in the process.
Writing a letter to Santa is a very important yearly chore for kids. If your little one is planning on taking pen -- or crayon -- to paper to write a letter to Old St. Nick, here are a few guidelines to help them through the process, but more importantly, also provide teachable moments. Pete Fontana, chief elf for the United States Postal Service, and Sharon Silver, author and founder of Proactive Parenting Solutions, give you their practical, meaningful tips for guiding your children through this process.
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Start talking to your child about writing a letter to Santa shortly after Thanksgiving. That way you have time to enjoy every step of the way. Plus, teaching kids to not procrastinate until Christmas Eve supports good organizational skills. And Santa (ahem) needs time to get the items on the list.
Make a Draft
Before your daughter creates the actual letter, encourage her to first write down a list of everything she thinks she wants. This might take a few days to think about -- it's the most important part after all!
Of course your child is hoping to find tons of toys under the tree this year, but if the pre-list is starting to get a little long, talk about narrowing it down. As much as you want to give them the world, having them ask for (and get) everything on their list can do more harm than good -- no matter how it makes you feel to spoil them.
When writing to Santa, have your child hone in on one or two special items that are really important. Getting fewer toys can actually help your child to slow down, taking time to explore and enjoy their new gift fully and appreciate it completely. Learning to ask for less can help them acquire boundaries.
Read about the 6 Ways to Get thru the Holidays without a Spoiled Child »
Writing letters to Santa can include a request for someone else -- a good friend, sibling or less-fortunate child. The letter to Santa written by 8-year old Ryan Suffern on behalf of his bullied twin sister moved us all to tears and swept the nation with feelings of hope and a renewed sense of what the holidays are about. Share this story with your child and ask them who they would like Santa to help this season.
“Empathy is a very new muscle for small children and must be directed by the parent," Silver says. "This provides a great opportunity to establish a value system. The holiday is only about getting stuff if parents allow that. Teaching your child that empathy is at the root of love and faith can be folded into a wonderful tradition that includes writing letters to Santa.”
Explain How to Write a Letter
When your child is ready to write the letter, talk how about to actually go about it. What should you put in the greeting, body and signature sections? How can you write politely? Should you ask about Mrs. Claus and the reindeer? How should you say thank you? (Add more or less details depending on your child's age). This tutorial will come in handy as they start writing letters for real.
Turn a regular wish list into a fun craft for your child. Traditional letters and envelopes written in crayon and glitter are the ones Fontana cherishes the most, but you can go crazy with the crafting supplies. Add holiday-themed designs, draw designs along the edges, etc. Make sure there is plenty of construction paper and envelopes for do-overs on hand and let your kid have fun with it.
Fill Out the Envelope
Now stuff that letter into an envelope and show your child how to address it. The most common address is: Santa Claus, North Pole, Alaska.
Your kid probably knows that Santa lives at the North Pole, but where is that exactly? Use this as an opportunity to talk about geography. Pull out a map of the world and point to that area. Talk about what it must be like there.
Then drop the letter in the mailbox and start baking cookies to leave for Santa!
Corey Whelan is a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn, New York.