Tom McDonald

Every year at about this time I get to be Santa’s editor helper. I clean up letters that children in Santa Rosa, Vaughn and Anton Chico write to him, for publication in my newspaper’s Letters to Santa special section, which is a big deal around here.

Actually, I do very little editing, because a misspelled word here and there is somehow “cute” when a kid does it. More than anything, I format their letters for the purpose of “flow” and “readability,” which is something a paginator understands and readers appreciate even if they don’t notice.

It’s a lot of work to put this tab together, but it’s also fun. I love kids — part of me never really grew up, so I can relate — and that makes the workload far more pleasant. Plus, it sorta makes my Christmas when one of these kiddos makes me laugh or touches my heart.

So I think I’ll share some them in hopes of passing on some Christmas cheer to you. Here are a few snippets from nearly 300 letters to good ol’ St. Nick this season.

First, let’s establish who they’re writing to:

“I like you Santa … the best Santa in the whole wide world.”

Then, let’s see where they’re writing from (for this one, you’ll appreciate it more knowing that Santa Rosa High School is home to the Lions and Lady Lions):

“I want a friend that’s a pet. It cannot be a lion, or else it would eat all of us.”

Now, let’s set the stage:

“I am going to make you cookies like last christmas. I know you loved them because you ate all of them.”

… although that won’t work for every home:

“Sadly, I can’t leave out cookies and milk for Christmas because my dogs might eat the cookies and my cats might drink some of the milk.”

Then we ask, are these kids deserving of what Santa is bringing them”

“I have been nice. I helped my sister find her favorite toy,” says one.

“I have been nice and a little naughty,” another confesses, while this one boasts: “I have been a very good boy. I have cleaned the whole entire house 72 times.”

And this one, from a tactful and humble girl: “Please Santa only give me what I deserve even if I don’t deserve any of it. I really hope you think I have been I good girl this year ...”

Meanwhile, some rise above it all for higher ideals:

“Christmas is not all about presents it is about family,” says one … while another one really touches my heart:

“I want sad people to be happy people.”

And Nino, whoever you are, please come visit soon:

“What I want is to see my Nino. I have not seen him since kindergarten … and I love him.”

With some letter writers, you can just feel their sincerity:

“i really want to get to hang out some time”

“not to be rude or anything but my favorite reindeer is Rudolph”

“I also want to say hi to Mrs. Claus, ‘Hi.’”

“When you have a Christmas party do you invite polar bers and penguins?”

And maybe it’s just me, but do I detect a mixed message in this one? “Can I see one of your reindeer? I want an elf and I would like a hunting set.”

Others are prepared to barter for their presents:

“I will trade you a glass of milk and cookies and a surprise for a phone.”

And just when you detect a bit of greediness — “I want an Oculus, Ps5 and I also want the new madden 23 and new pairs of shoes and clothes” — the kid adds this: “What I really want this Christmas is for all of my family to come together and hang around for a bit even if it’s for a minute. That is how much I love and want to see them… Then he returns to the list at hand: “Also Santa I want one more game Nba 2k 23 if it’s possible,” before remembering, “you do not have to get me all this stuff I just really want my family to come together.”

And finally, some appreciation, written on point:

“Dear Santa, thank you for all the stuff.”

And thank you, kids, for all the words.


Tom McDonald is founder of the New Mexico Community News Exchange, which distributes this column statewide. He’s also editor and publisher of the Guadalupe County Communicator in Santa Rosa. He can be reached at

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