Letters From 1918 To Santa Bring Joy, Memories

Posted at 6:43 PM, Dec 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-23 19:42:55-05

As long as Santa has been going down people's chimney bringing Christmas joy, children have been writing letters to Santa asking for the perfect gift. 

In 2017, many kids likely asked for iPads, new phones, the hottest video game, or whatever is trending, but 100 years ago, things were much different. 

Tina Jones was doing genealogy research when she stumbled upon letters to Santa written in a 1918 copy of the Nashville Globe, an African American newspaper. 

One by one, Jones published the letters to Santa through the African American Heritage Society of Williamson County Facebook page, and one of those posts caught the attention of Johnnie Patton Hamilton. 

"I saw a letter from her, and I'm like, 'Oh my God! That's my grandmother's letter!" Hamilton said. 

Henrietta Lee, Hamilton's grandmother, wrote a letter to Santa at the age of eight asking for fruit and candy for herself, her family, and for her teacher.

"That was my grandmama. She was a very unselfish person, a very giving person," Hamilton recalled. 

Hamilton said it was interesting to see what the kids would ask for in the time. "Candy was probably not like our children get it nowadays, everyday. That was probably a very rare thing for them to get." 

While Hamilton brought joy and good memories from the letters, she hoped they can also teach a lesson to today's youth. Christmas, and life in general, isn't just about receiving gifts, but about giving as well.

"She'd be proud that we still honor what she believed in," Hamilton said of her grandmother. "And she'd be saying, 'Don't buy them kids all that stuff!'"

The letters to Santa can be found on the African American Heritage Society of Williamson County's Facebook page