SEATTLE, Wash. — Let's talk letters to Santa, shall we?
If your kids are anything like mine, you never really know what you're going to get when you sit down with a pen and paper in hand, ready to make the list official. For my 4-year-old daughter, this is very serious business.
The writing of the letter to Santa requires the right ambiance. This year, my daughter's little table had to be placed directly in between the tree and the fireplace (I'm surprised she didn't make me bust out the measuring tape) because, "that's Santa's favorite place, mom." Right.
Oh, and a glass of milk is required as well, just to get those creative juices flowing.
The official letter had to be on pink paper. Obviously. And you should have seen her face when I pulled out a humble ballpoint pen to do the job — it was as if I'd kicked Rudolph in his big, shiny, red nose. No, no — only sparkle markers for Santa.
It's a tradition that can be both delightful and frustrating for parents. The creativity of a child's mind knows no bounds, and that certainly seems to be the case when it comes to dreaming big for the holidays.
A recent study by a British toy company revealed the average Christmas list will cost Santa (cough, parents) about $1,400 to fill.
Drew Magary read his 7-year-old daughter's over-the-top wish list, had a good laugh and decided it was way too good not to share with the world.
The itemized letter to Santa (which has garnered millions of views) includes requests for $1,000, a new American doll, five North Face jackets, a grill, an iPod Touch, a puppy, and the crème de la crème — "A little thing that can turn into anything at anytime."
I have a feeling that last one will knock Tickle Me Elmo right out of the water.
"[It] completely reminded me of my insane expectations for the holiday as a kid," Magary told Good Morning America. "I mean I literally thought I would get a helicopter."
Utah mom Erin Fugal was baffled by the sheer size and scope of her daughter's request.
"Avery has asked Santa for a backyard this year. I'm not sure how he's going to fit that in his sleigh," she said.
But in a season that's become so much about getting, it can be difficult to focus on the importance of giving. In response to the current trend of extravagant, outlandish Christmas demands, the family of an Ontario man shared a letter he wrote as 7-year-old boy in 1915. It went viral about as fast as Magary's daughter's letter, but for completely different reasons.
"Dear Santa Claus," Homer Mellon wrote almost 98 years ago. "Will you please send me a box of paints, also a nine cent reader, and a school bag to put them in. And if you have any nuts, or candy, or toys to spare, would you kindly send me some."
These things, he said, would "please a seven year old boy."
Mellon's family saved the precious little list for nearly 100 years, with the goal of passing along the sweet and simple message to posterity.
"We just take for granted that whatever we want out there we can have, and that isn't the case," Larry Mellen, Homer's son, told Good Morning America. "When my father was young, to put your stocking up with care and knowing that you were going to get maybe an orange, that was the magic of Christmas."