By Misty Poe
Times West Virginian
“Dear Santy Claus: I know a little boy and girl whose Papa has no work and their Mama washes for my Mama. Wont you please send them something for Christmas. The little girl wood like doll and the little boy anything you will give him.” 1888, Chicago
“Dear Santa Claus, North Pole: Are you coming to our house this year? Mother says she thinks not. Mother is sick. Will you please bring me a train of cars. I am George Stewart, and I am 6 years old.” 1906, Chicago
“My sister and brother are very glad to hear that we will get some presents anyhow. The fact is that my papa is out of work and we did not expect to get anything for Christmas. My brother, 7 years old, wants a Teddy bear; Molly wants a pair of skates, aged 9 years; Kitty wants a toy grocery store, aged 7, and Katherine, aged 6, wants a Teddy bear. If I am not asking too much of you, I would like a pair of skates. My age is 13 years of age. If I am not asking too much and hope you will not forget us.” 1907, New York
“I am a little girl, 7 years old, and I’m afraid that you won’t call at our house, because we are so poor. Father has to work hard all day and mother is sick and says we needn’t expect anything. Please when you are on the west side if you will just call and leave a little book or something I will be much obliged. You can’t come down the chimney, because it is too small, but I will open the door if you knock.” 1906, Chicago
Even when times were tough, children still believed in the love and magic of Santa Claus. That was before Santa was a franchise, with every television program and special devoted to the story every single day leading up to Christmas. That was before Elf on the Shelf and social media, when parents spend hours planning out how to stage their elf to keep up with the digital Joneses. That was before every decoration, song and ugly Christmas sweater had Santa’s face on it. That was then. This is now.
“Dear Father Christmas. My name is Larissa. I know that you are very busy and that you live a long way away in the North Pole, but I’d like to ask you for a gift because my mother doesn’t have enough money to buy what I want.” — Brazil
“My name is Brian and I have three brothers. Fernando is 7 years old and Edwin is 12 and the baby is 1. I have only my mom my dad isn’t here. I would like a bike. ... I love you Santa.” — San Francisco
There are still so many who believe in the magic of Santa during the holiday season because it’s their only hope. There is still so much hurt and so much need, even in our own community. So what would you give? What could you offer to make things just a little better for everyone, from 1 to 92?
We took that question to our readers, the ones who log on each week to vote In our online poll question. Last week we asked “If you could, what Christmas gift would you give to this country?”
And here’s what you had to say:
• Hope — 2014 will be an extraordinary year — 14.78 percent
• Love — For ourselves, for our neighbors, for everyone — 30.43 percent
• Faith — It’s what we’re missing most — 54.78 percent
So here’s to 2014, may it be filled with more faith than the year before. Faith is also at the heart of this week’s poll question. Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the AMC reality series “Duck Dynasty” has been suspended for comments he made to GQ Magazine about homosexuality being sinful. Where do you stand on the issue?
Log on. Vote. Email me or respond online.