Santa letters bring back holiday memories

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By Jonna Spelbring Priester

I have, for years, enjoyed typing up children's letters to Santa each year.

That particular task manages to somehow be one of the hardest and funniest things we do in community newspapers.

Inevitably, there are a few letters written by the younger kids that we cannot read or interpret, no matter how many folks we show the letter to. That is, however, part of their charm - the jumble of letters that makes perfect sense to the writer, but leaves us scratching our heads.

I've seen a lot of requests for Hannah Montanna wigs, Nintendo DS systems, Play Station 3 systems, bikes, clothes, make-up and more.

And like so many of the children who wrote, my husband and I too would like a Wii system. They're just ... cool, man. I still remember the first time I played with one at a friend's house. We played tennis and golf, we bowled and boxed. I laughed so hard at one point I couldn't hit my opponent in the boxing ring.

I digress. There were of course, there were tons of comments about milk and cookies.

It always reminds me of the Christmases we had when I was growing up. Until 1986, we always had a real tree. I remember going out into the snow with my dad and brother one year looking for a good tree.

Quite possibly the coolest tree we ever had we purchased while we lived in Henderson. At the time, we lived in a large older house. It was the kind with 12 foot ceilings, and that year, we had the biggest tree I think I've ever seen in a home. There was just enough room between the tip of the tree and the ceiling for our angel.

We used every ornament we had on the tree, including some wooden ornaments that have become sort of a family treasure. They were painted by my brother and sister, and we've got about 100 of the things. But it took every single one we had to decorate the tree, and even then, we had some bare spots.

And then, there are the tales of milk and cookies.

Each year, we always made what we were told were Santa's favorite cookies - oatmeal scotchies.

I clearly remember leaving for Santa one year a plate of cookies and a glass of milk. But the next morning I found a note, next to a slightly different beverage container. "Thanks for the cookies, but I needed something with a little more kick to wash it down."

Only about eight years old I was slightly puzzled.

It didn't take too many years before I figured it out.

I love Christmas, even if I'm never quite ready for it. But those Santa letters tend to get me in the spirit.

I hope each of you had a merry Christmas, and have a save and wonderful New Year.