There is something about the Christmas season that brings out the writer in us. Whether you are writing to Santa, to a loved one or your own personal to-do list, the holiday season offers a chance to stop, reflect and put pen to paper. Though not every letter you write may be saved for posterity, the ones sent during a special season often do find them their way to a memento box and, who knows, may just reappear in the years ahead.

These famous letters were written years ago and yet continue to be popularly revisited during the winter holidays. From a classic letter to the editor to an oddball’s homemade card, these notes prove that letter writing will never be completely forgotten, even in our digital age.

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus

Everyone knows the expression, but do they know it comes from an actual letter to the editor? This memorable exchange was printed in the September 21, 1897, edition of The (New York) Sun and has since become one of the most reprinted editorials of all time (not to mention a moving treatise against skepticism and negativity).


Image Source: Here’s How It Happened

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Letters from Father Christmas

J.R.R. Tolkien’s unstoppable imagination wasn’t only focused on the world of Middle-Earth, but made trips to the North Pole, as well. In December  1920, Tolkien began writing letters to his children “from” Santa Claus, an effort that became an annual tradition in his household for the next twenty years. His enchanting and detailed letters were compiled into a book in 1976, with the special 25th-anniversary edition of Letters From Father Christmas being released in 2004.


Image Source: Letters of Note

Houdini’s Homemade Christmas Cards

Harry Houdini wasn’t just a legendary illusionist, but a pretty good illustrator too! The Boston Public Library has in its collection a scrapbook of his writings and sketches from 1904–1926, including the Christmas card below.


Image Source: The Boston Public Library on Flickr


What letters from your own life do you keep somewhere safe?

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