Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

“Dear Santa” letters from Minnesota first graders December 29, 2021

Santa, done delivering gifts at a family Christmas. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted file photo December 2015)

DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS, a small town Minnesota weekly newspaper published 32 letters—31 addressed to Santa and one to Elsa. The letters written by Sibley East first graders, as you would expect, are honest. Or at least honest enough to convince Santa of good behavior.

As I read through the letters to Santa published in The Gaylord Hub (where I worked as a reporter from 1978-1980), I laughed. And I nearly cried. Read on and you’ll understand as I share highlights pulled from the kids’ writings.

Many first graders assured Santa of their helpfulness and kindness among family and friends. But young Oskar hesitated. “I have been kind of good this year,” he penned before asking for Legos and books with one Lego figurine.


What kids wanted for Christmas varied widely. Aleah asked for markers, glue, coloring books, crayons and Skye from Paw Patrol. Her request for glue and for crayons caused me to pause, considering she needed/wanted something so basic. I hope sweet Aleah got those gifts. Other kids asked for items like shoes, clothes, a bunk bed, a garbage can for their bedroom. Necessities.

But perhaps the most touching was Elsa’s request: “Please can you give me a picture of me for my family.”


On the opposite end of the spectrum, Alex requested items that could bankrupt Santa. He not only wanted a remote control car, a gun, a kids’ motorcycle and an iPhone 11, but he also asked for $1 million. Alright then. Alex wants a sister, too. Not sure how Santa handled that.


Perhaps the most unusual gift desired came from Angie, who assured Santa she’s been working hard in school and helping her mom with dishes. The first grader asked for a skeleton so she can study the human body. Impressed? I am. I expect Angie will accomplish anything she sets her mind to, maybe even becoming a medical professional.

Other gift lists included Nintendo games, a skateboard, not just some but “a lot of” Nerf guns, a remote control semi, a LOL doll, Pokemon cards…and the usual horse and puppy. And for one boy, dogs. Plural, not singular. He promised to share the dogs with his friends.


These kids also had lots of questions for Santa. About the reindeer (What do they eat? How do they fly?). About the elves (How are they?). About Mrs. Claus (How old is she?). About the North Pole (How cold and snowy is it there?).

Santa also faced questions about himself. “Do you like cookies or not?” Cameron asked, getting right to the point. Oskar was more specific. “Do you like cookies that are bought or decorated cookies?”

Angie, who wanted the skeleton to study the human body (I sure hope she got it) wondered why Santa wears a red hat instead of a blue hat. Good question. Like I said, I expect this inquisitive first grader will achieve whatever goals she sets.


Then two first grade boys got even more personal. “Do you have any kids?” Charlie asked Santa. Good question.

And then there’s Jaxson, concerned about Santa’s mental health. “Are you happy? Yes?” I love how this little boy’s letter opened with that question before he went on to ask for one thing, a Nintendo Switch. He even thanked Santa. We could all learn from Jaxson. About compassion and care for others. From the pencils of first graders…


© Copyright 2021 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Source: December 23, 2021 edition of The Gaylord Hub


16 Responses to ““Dear Santa” letters from Minnesota first graders”

  1. beth Says:

    i love these so much, especially elsa’s

  2. Love reading what kids ask for. Mine have gotten to the age where shopping for them isn’t as fun. They received necessities this year new coats, shoes, and socks.

  3. I so needed this today – ha! – from the mouth of babes. Gotta love that age too due to being funny, brutally honest and at times no filter. I remember my nephews at that age and good times with lots of hoots and peals of laughter. I remember buying them a dictionary (mind you a child’s picture one) and that was a cold shoulder for Auntie for a beat – ha! Now a skeleton – that is pretty ingenious and hope she gets one (they do come in all sizes like tabletop). I am sure they are not inexpensive though. A cool mil would be nice and who does not love puppies and kitties. Happy Day & Soon Happy New Year – Enjoy 🙂

  4. Bernadette Arlene Thomasy Says:

    These letters are precious; love how you categorized them and put them in perspective. Belated Merry Christmas.

  5. Norma Says:

    I loved those letters. The last time I moved, I found a box that had letters in it to Santa from some of my children. It was a real hoot to see some of the things they wanted. I just hope Alex didn’t get his gun, or IPhone 11. .

  6. Awesome read this morning with my first coffee.
    I ponder also why Santa wears only red. Why doesn’t he mix it up from year to year… it must be a product (branding) situation.
    Still good to know that first graders are still writing Santa!

  7. Ruth Says:

    You exemplify care and compassion, Audrey.

  8. Susan Ready Says:

    What a fun read thanks for sharing

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