Dear Santa: Tips for writing a letter worthy of the nice list
There are only 17 more days until Christmas and that means children are feeling the pressure to complete their letters to Santa.
It may be tempting for them to dash off a sloppy and long list of unrealistic wishes on sheet of torn notebook paper using a red pencil. (Or worse, a typed list!) But of all letters, this one deserves diligence, care and neatness.
After all, it will be read by Santa Claus, the keeper of the naughty and nice lists. It can’t hurt to make an excellent impression.
Not to mention, it may be the only handwritten letter most children write all year long.
“It’s definitely something that should be parent-guided,” said Cheryl Stearns, a retired middle school teacher nationally certified in the English language arts and a local substitute teacher.
A letter to Santa is a great opportunity for children to learn and practice the rules of formal letter writing, Stearns said.
“First of all, make it fun. But, also try to interject those things that are really important like spelling and grammar, if possible,” she said.
Follow these suggestions to write a perfect letter to Santa.
Be formal, yet friendly
“It should be a cross between a friendly letter and a business letter,” Stearns said. That means it should follow a basic letter format with a date, salutation, body, closing paragraph and a signature.
The letter should not be more than one page long and should be written in careful penmanship.
Choose a clean sheet of lined paper or stationery.
It’s OK to begin your letter with “Dear Santa,” or even an enthusiastic, “Hi Santa!”
Refrain from writing something funny, like “Wuz up?” or “Yo Santa.”
Stick with polite and friendly, Stearns said.
The first paragraph should be dedicated to thanking Santa for the things he has given in the past, Stearns said.
Be specific so Santa knows his gifts are remembered.
Then it would nice to inquire about the important things in Santa’s life, such as Mrs. Claus and his reindeer, she said.
This also is a good time for children to add a humble brag to remind Santa of the good things done recently, such as cleaning rooms, doing homework or helping with chores, she said.
Suggest, don’t demand
The main paragraph, wherein lies the Christmas wishes, should be masterfully written.
This is the place where spelling and grammar count the most. Use complete sentences and be very specific.
It is only polite to ask for a few things, Stearns said.
She suggested beginning the paragraph with “I have some suggestions of things I might like for Christmas,” rather than “this is what I want.”
This paragraph also is an area where parents can help their children to be realistic. Santa cannot grant impossible wishes and typically doesn’t deliver pets or electronics.
The last sentence might include “good luck on Christmas Eve” or “give my regards to the elves,” Stearns said.
It is OK to be a little bit funny by writing “the usual bribe of cookies and carrots will be waiting for you,” she said.
Conclude the letter with “Your friend” and a legible signature. Don’t forget to have your child include their address under their signature.
A small drawing at the bottom of the page would be a fine personal touch, Stearns said.
Send it off
There are a number of ways to send letters to Santa, but the easiest is to simply address an envelope to Santa Claus, North Pole, and place it in the mailbox. Raise the red flag, if you have one.
The United States Postal Service has a number of elves who help Santa receive and respond to his letters, said David Rupert, spokesman for the Postal Service.
“He has a huge workload this time of year and everyone tries to do their part, including USPS employees,” he said.
To guarantee a reply, parents should go to about.usps.com/holidaynews/letters-from-santa.htm.