How Kids Talk to Santa

University of Scranton psychology professor Carole Slotterback analyzed about five years’ worth of children’s letters to Santa that were sent to her city’s central post office. Kids asked for everything from Pokemon cards to a mother, but, Slotterback found, few of them were very polite; there was even a death threat. The letters also reflected kids’ awareness of current events — like patriotic-sleigh drawings, fewer toy requests after 9/11, and hand-drawn “stamps” during the recession. Related: Vancouver Sun blogger Chad Skelton discusses whether believing in Santa is good or bad for kids. [%comments]


Jake

Yes, I understand that they are "Letters to Santa" - but who on earth gave this woman the right to open and read someone else's mail, and then use the contents of that mail in a study?

Not only that, but after opening and reading someone's private letter, she reported the contents to the postmaster for proper legal action? How is this not a federal crime, or at the very least a serious violation of privacy?

Eric M. Jones

Of course, believing in Santa is a good idea. People used to believe in the innate goodness of humankind and the government. What's left?

Jonathon K.

Parent's should have proof read the letters to Santa, maybe then they would have realized their kid should be on the naughty list.

merkin4

I worked as a mall Santa one year. I was 19 at the time. One of the most draining, difficult jobs I've had.

My standard response when getting a long list of requests was to look the kid in the eye and say "Well, I've been keeping my eye on you, and you could eat your vegetables without complaining, and hang up your coat better when you get home from school, and (if they had siblings) you've been fighting with your brothers and sisters entirely too much. Tell you what - you work on those things, and we'll see how it goes."

Some of the requests are indeed heart-wrenching. One little girl wanted her dad to stop abusing her (Santa got a name and address on that one). A boy wanted shoes for his mom. Another girl wanted to go to heaven to visit Mommy on Christmas, then come back. But, in general, selfishness abounds. Lists of over six items outnumbered lists of six items or less.

My favorite visit was when a crummy high school coach and teacher brought his son. "Wow, Timmy, you have been really good this year. Is that all you want? I think Santa can handle all that. Do you have a trampoline already? No? Oh, you need a trampoline. How about a pony? Want a pony?" When the father/teacher tried to object, I told him, "Now Tom, you stay out of this. Santa has this under control."

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David Chowes, New York City

Kids believing in Santa Klaus can be either good or bad.
Adults who believe in St. Klaus suggests serious psychopathology.

Yet many believe in God -- what ever they conceive "God" is? If only a few did this -- again, psychopathology. But, since it is so widespread, even atheists accept this belief
system as normal.

Actually, the concepts of "Santa" and "God" are quite similar. Have you beeen naughty or nice?

Bananen

Some people believe in the government, others in God. Why not also believe in Santa? At least Santa only threatens not to give you gifts if you are not living according to his standards.

Spooner

When my son was six, he requested something (I can't remember what) that I couldn't afford, and I told him so. He then said Santa Claus would bring it. I told him Santa didn't really exist, but was like a fairy tale character. He looked me straight in the eye and said "That's a lie!"

Kids, like adults, will believe whatever they want to.

tiara

I do not think "David Chowes, New York City" is thinking reasonably! Like "Spooner" said, "Kids, like adults, will belive whatever they want to." I think that is the more reasonable way to think about it "David Chowes, New York City"!!!!!!!!!!!!
I still belive in Santa Claus and I am 16!!!! OMG! You need to lighten up, dude! Seriously!!! I think it is perfectly fine to belive in Santa Claus. Try sleeping on THAT "David Chowes, New York City"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

shyann moore

i still belive in santa clause

shyann moore

i still belivein santa clause im 14 year old

Theresa

@ Jake - the letters addressed to "Santa" when sent to a post office are opened by volunteers who then write return letters. They are generally considered communal property and therefore not subject to the same federal laws as a letter addressed to a person or company...

I think Dacid Chowes, NYC put it succinctly. Working in a school system you see a sense of entitlement around children at Christmas. No kid is happy with just one gift, they all want more, better and bigger presents that they can brag about then discard or break quickly. It's sad, really.

rosa

dear santa is cool

Kylah

i love santa