A 1940’s Letter To Santa

Over the decades, the one thing that has remained the same is that children write a list for Santa Claus at Christmas time. As part of our ByGone Christmases, we take a look into what children and familes asked Santa for during 1940.

We earn a commission for products purchase through some links in this article.


What is on that all important Christmas list differs greatly between the 40’s and now.  Today’s children tend to ask for an xbox one console or an ipad, but back in the forties children asked for much simpler things.

As the war continued, people’s interests and priorities changed significantly.  Many children asked santa for more serious things such as  “an end to the war” or to bring back their relatives who had gone off to fight in the war.

Those who asked for toys were actually very few and far between, but if pushed they might ask for a dolly “where the head bends” or a train set, both of which were very popular and much wanted gifts. Children in the 40’s  were affected by the war and knew that rations would affect even Santa Claus himself and so they asked for very little.

A typical letter to Santa during the vintage 40’s looked a bit like this!

It wasn’t until 8th December 1941, that the United States finally joined the second world war.  Until then Christmas remained unchanged, with the postal service receiving so many letters to Santa Claus at the North Pole that volunteers had to be drafted in to help with the increased mail.

As many children still do today, letters to Santa were kept secret from brothers and sisters and on Christmas Eve they would be sent up the chimney.  The draught from the fire carried the letters, magically, to the North Pole directly to the great man himself.  Back up letters, perhaps two or three each, would be written just in case one got lost on the way.

We’ve listed a few of today’s equivalents of toys to let you see the comparison:

1941 – New baby doll where the head bends!

2014 – My Friend Cayla Doll – Interacts without using pre-set phrases – just sync with your mobile phone or tablet.

1943 – A  train set with piece together track

2014 – Virtual Reality game makes you feel as though you’re driving a train

As a child, what did you ask Santa for at Christmas time? Did you send your letter up the chimney to Santa? 

Get in touch with us below as we would love for you to join in with our ByGone Christmases.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


UnderTheChristmasTree participates in various affiliate marketing programs and Google adsense which means we may get paid commissions on chosen products purchased and adverts through our links to retailer and advertisements sites.