This article contains the transcription of a brief recounting of one five-year-old boy’s letter to Santa Claus, published in Chicago Daily Tribune on December 26, 1883. The vintage newspaper report sheds light upon the attitudes and perceptions of our late Victorian-era ancestors, a young and well-to-do boy’s Christmas wish-list, and how his parents must have attempted to impress upon him an awareness of the good he might do for others. I find it interesting that residents of the Old Ladies’ Home are referred to as “inmates”.
In the very early years of the United States’ history, Christmas celebrations remained highly localized and dependent upon the traditions of the settlers’ homelands. But by 1876 (The Centennial), what we consider a “Traditional Christmas” had become firmly formed. Contemporary Americans will recognize almost all of the Victorian traditions surrounding the holiday.
Santy (Santa Claus) wasn’t the only celebrity to endorse the well-known, well-loved, imported English Pears’ Soap. Even when the method of celebrity endorsement was used to lesser extent, it’s still implied. Another ad run either in a magazine or newspaper in the latter portion of the century quoted, “I have found it matchless for the hands and complexion.”