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Letter from Santa, Christmas 1950. Click for text and background.

Text of Letter
Greenland DENMARK
Christmas 1950

My dear little friend,

It was nice of you to send a letter to your old Santa Claus. It reached me in Denmark, a country of which Greenland is a big colony.

I have read with interest your wishes about Christmas presents and will do what I can to meet them, provided, of course, that you are good and well-behaved

As a little extra Christmas greeting I am sending you a fairy tale written by the great Danish writer Hans Andersen. it is called "The Emperor's New Clothes", and is about a nice old emperor who wanted to be both fine and wise. Two jolly tailors tried to cheat the nice old emperor and his people. Only a little child dared to tell the emperor the truth. Never forget that the wisest thing you can ever do is always to speak the truth.

In order that you can see how I live, I am also sending you a picture of my home in Greenland which is very beautiful even if it is covered with snow. You must not think that Denmark looks like that, though. There is no snow and no ice here, but only lovely fertile country and fine big towns.

And now I wish you a really happy Christmas and a bright New Year.

With good wishes to all,
Your old friend

Santa Claus

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In 1950, and long before and long afterwards, Clery's shop in Dublin's O'Connell Street had a postbox for letters to Santa in the run up to Christmas.

Lots of children posted their requests, often when visiting the shop's own Santa.

In 1950 Santa replied. He wrote from Greenland, proving the Finns' claim to his residence false, and praising the virtues of the Danish scenery. I don't know how many countries' children received such replies, but they were a stroke of genius and probably assisted by the Danish Foreign Ministry (if not why not). They certainly proved conclusively that there was a Santa. It took me a further four years to find out the truth.

Nevertheless, I kept the letter as one of my precious possessions, testifying initially to its original impact and subsequently to my admiration for this elegant piece of Danish propaganda. The inclusion of the postcard of Greenland and a tastefully printed version of "The Emperor's New Clothes" were both edifying and entertaining.

Unfortunately, the condition of the letter deteriorated over time and has only recently been immortalised (digitised) at least until the electro-magnetic pulse zaps my computer or the latest plastic-eating fungus devours my backup CD.

Meanwhile remember and enjoy .

15 August 2003

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