1. St. Joseph Girl Writes Santa for Unusual Christmas Gift
Three years later, her eldest daughter Lora Routon wrote to Santa with a Christmas wish that would give the family some closure for the death of her baby sister Kimmy.
"I wish for nothing for me, except a hoodie that has Kimmy's name on it, and a headstone for sissy in heaven," wrote Lora in the letter.
"It was the saddest Santa Claus letter," said Carter. "It made me feel like I should just cry because no child should be having to ask for a headstone for their baby sister. That is something that should've been done three years ago."
Carter said her daughter Kimmy died from hypothermia just three days after her first birthday. Their family lost power during a bad snow storm in January 2014 and there were complications with the furnace right next to Kimmy's crib.
Carter explained that she has been unable to purchase a headstone for her late daughter because of the expense. She said whenever her family visits Kimmy's grave, Lora and her other two children are sad to see that Kimmy's is the only grave without a headstone.
Which led to Lora writing the letter to Santa. Carter knew that Lora was upset about the grave site, but said she still never expected anything like this.
"She's doing something that should be done by adults," said Carter . "It blew my mind because, she's a rowdy one. She sometimes only thinks of herself. But here she was, thinking about the whole family."
Cater said she posted the letter on her Facebook page to share with her friends. She was surprised by how far the post took off.
"People just started sharing away with it," she said.
Carter's friend Hannah Wilson, whom bonded with Carter after the mutual loss of a child, reached out to Carter to try and make the Christmas wish a reality.
"Hannah got a hold of me and said, 'Look, I'd like to set up a GoFundMe account to see if maybe we can get this Christmas Miracle done for you guys. I said, "Okay," said Carter.
Wilson created this page to collect donations for Kimmy's headstone as an effort to fulfill Lora's Christmas Wish. They have a goal to raise $3,000 for Kimmy's headstone.
2. Child pens heartbreaking letter to Santa, asking for food and his mom to come back
But one little boy from North Carolina had two humble Christmas wishes for Santa Claus: for his mom to come back, and for food.
In the heartbreaking letter, said to have been written by a second grader, the child begs Santa for things many children will never have to ask the jolly elf for in their lifetime, including to "bring [his] mom back alive," toys for his sister and a few video games, and "some more food."
One woman, Christian Wilson, was so moved by the letter that she reached out to and began working with the child's teacher to help the family in any way she could.
To go even more above and beyond, Wilson also sent the letter to a local television station to rally the support of the community for a more than worthy cause. She is now asking for donations to help not only the child who wrote the letter, but any other children facing similar conditions.
According to Fox Carolina, donations can be made at the Nationwide Insurance office on Statesville Boulevard, Dimensions Dance Studio in Rockwell, Robin's Nest Consignment in Granite Quarry, or Allstate Insurance in Granite Quarry.
And for those outside North Carolina who still want to get involved, here's where you can donate toys and food in your own area.
3. Kids in US Immigration Detention Ask Santa for Freedom
The Obama administration refuses to release children held for a second year in the notorious Berks immigration detention center, despite a federal court ruling that they should be immediately released into the care of family members in the U.S.
Seventeen mothers and their 19 children, all fleeing the violence of the U.S. war on drugs in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, remain in the controversial Pennsylvania facility as they await an appeal to the Supreme Court about the legality of their detention and deportation orders.
“This is a very sad, very painful time (for) my son,” one mother told The Guardian. “I knew I couldn’t trust my own government in Honduras, that they wouldn’t protect us. But we came here to the United States of America thinking that this was the home of human rights, that we would find protection here. I never dreamed we would be treated this way.”
This single mother, whose 2-year-old son Said has now spent almost half his life behind bars, has been jailed by the Obama administration for 422 days, sharing a single room with two other mothers and their children.
Said wrote to Santa, “Dear Santa Claus, I want a present and that present should be my liberty.”
“Dear Santa Claus. I am a girl who has her whole life ahead of her and I want the same freedom as any other girl and on this day, the only thing I ask is to be with the person who is waiting for me on the outside and that person has a very tiny heart (referring to her baby sister),” wrote another child detainee.
Yet another wrote, “I want to get out of here with my mommy.”
While many have expressed deep fears about President-elect Trump’s plans to deport millions, these mothers and their allies highlight the ongoing cruelty of the Obama administration’s immigration detention policy.
“We’ve been asking for two and a half years why Obama and his administration are so recalcitrant in detaining children. It is 100 percent his administration that put family detention on steroids and it is 100 percent within his power to end it,” said Carol Anne Donohoe, an immigration lawyer representing many of the Berks families. “Obama has paved the way for everything Trump is now threatening,” she added.
Numerous studies have identified the severe damage Obama’s indefinite detention policy inflicts on children, from PTSD to depression and suicidal ideation, all of which have been documented in the children held at the Berks facility. Indeed these findings led to a recent federal court ruling which ordered the immediate release the children held at Berks into the custody of U.S. relatives, an order which the Obama administration continues to violate.
“We are not criminals or delinquents to spend so much time in a prison. My son doesn’t want to be here, the only present he wants is to get out. Every day he watches the visitors arrive in their cars and he shouts at them through the window: ‘Take me away! Take me with you!’” Amaro said.
Given the intransigence of the Obama administration, advocates have recently focussed their efforts on state officials to step in. Earlier this week, they staged a demonstration outside the detention center calling on Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to issue an executive order to close the facility in compliance with the federal court ruling.
In one final letter shared with the Guardian, one child wrote, “Dear Santa, I love computers, PlayStation, go to the beach, video games, but in here it’s not allowed. That’s why I want my liberty. I also love roast beef pupusas. I’m 6 years old.”
4. Boy’s letter to Santa: ‘I want a healthy heart for my mom’
Arnulfo Guerra Jr. wrote a letter to Santa asking for his mother to get the heart transplant she needs.
The letter read:
Dear Santa,When firefighters from the Channelview Fire Department read the letter, they knew they had to help.
I believe in you and the miracles, Santa I don't want toys for me, only I want a (healthy) heart for my mom, she's sick, her diagnostic is transposition of the great (arteries) (T.G.A). I'm sad for her she's 46 years and I only 12, next March 18 I will be 13 teen, we need her for many years more, me and my Dad pray all days for mom. Only I want is to see my mom (healthy) and happy.
On Friday, they visited Guerra's family to drop off presents and provide words of encouragement.
"For him to completely to be selfless and not ask for anything else other than his mom to be healthy for Christmas," said paramedic Katya Garza. "You know, it really put us back."
5. Heartbreaking letter to Santa discovered in New York fireplace 100 years on
Among the dust and charred rubble under the chimney of his Hell’s Kitchen home, Peter Mattaliano found two separate 100-year-old handwritten letters to Santa.
Dated 1905 and 1907, the letters were written by Alfred and Mary McGann, siblings in an Irish Catholic family who at the time of writing appeared to be around six and nine years old.
The scrawled notes detail humble requests, painting a picture of a poor but content immigrant family.
Mary’s letter to Santa Claus, to be delivered to “reindeer land”, is heartbreaking in its message of generosity and apparent poverty.
“Dear Santa Claus, I am very glad that you are coming around tonight,” the letter begins.
“My little brother would like you to bring him a wagon which I know that you cannot afford so I will ask you to bring him whatever you think best. Please bring me something nice what you think best.”
The heartbreaking postscript reads: “Please do not forget the poor.”
In an interview with the New York Times, Mr Mattaliano, 66, said Mary’s last line hit him hard.
“This is a family that couldn’t afford a wagon, and she’s writing, ‘Don’t forget the poor,’ ” he said. “That just shot an arrow through me. What did she think poor was?”
The second letter, written by Mary’s brother Alfred, asks for a drum and a hook and ladder from the man in red.
The century-old letters have inspired their discoverer, an acting coach and screen writer, to learn more about the family.
In meeting with record clerks and analysing ancestory records, Mr Mattaliano discovered the children’s father had died in 1904, leaving Mary and Alfred’s mother, a widow at 35, the breadwinner for their small family.
With the help of New York Times researchers, he found as young adults Mary worked as a stenographer and Alfred as a printer, and the two both married later in life.
Neither had children and both apparently died in Queens in their 80s.
Mr Mattaliano hoped to pass on the letters to the writers’ relations but has so far failed to find any blood relatives.
The discovery also inspired Mr Mattaliano to pen a film script based on the letters and says his idea has attracted interest from investors and he hopes to start working on the film next year.
Mr Mattaliano will call the film Present from the Past, he announced on a Facebook page set up to document the project.
The story will “embody a spirit of generosity and hope, as well as an endearing testament to New York’s immigrant’s humble origins”.
6. Child’s last letter to Santa, found 50 years after his death, sheds moving light on the past
A little boy’s last letter to Father Christmas was discovered by his family inside a long forgotten book 50 years after his death.
And the touching note to Mr Claus shows just how Christmas lists have changed over the past five decades, the Sunday People writes.
While children now expect hundreds of pounds worth of toys and technology from Father Christmas, nine year old Paul Trench asked for just a handful of small gifts.
The little boy, who died aged nine in 1966, asked for a Subbuteo game, a ‘toch’ - misspelt - and toy cars and buses.
The letter was found tucked away in the family’s old children’s encyclopedia by his older brother Ray.
Paul died suddenly in 1967 from a freak viral infection which was never properly explained and the discovery, in an old family encyclopaedia, brought back memories of Paul and their family life together.
Retired teacher Ray, 65, who lives near Hartlepool, Teesside, said: “One week Paul had a medical at school and the next week he was gone.
“What strikes me is how modest his requests were compared to the expectations of some of the Veruca Salts of these days and the gimme, gimme, gimme culture.
“It’s not fair to tar all children with the same brush, but it is fair to say expectations now are so much higher. I can just imagine my little brother sitting there writing the note.”
Here we look at how children’s expectations and perceptions of Christmas have changed over the past decades in a series of letters over the past 100 years.
The roaring decade which began with post-war prosperity but ended with austerity. Women over 21 got the vote in 1928 and the school leaving age rose to 14.
But, just like little her counterparts today, one little girl dreamed of being a princess and asked Santa for an evening dress.
In a letter found in October 2014 in the chimney of a bedroom at Haberdashers Monmouth Girls’ School in Wales read: “Dear Father Christmas, are you coming to see me in two weeks’ time I suppose? Tell Mummy I want a book, Tell England, and an evening dress. Love Haly H.”
Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, unemployment in Britain rose to 2.5million and poverty left families destitute around the world. In Germany, the rise of fascism culminated in the outbreak of World War II, but some families were still feeling the impact of the previous war.
An eight-year-old in Belfast tells Santa how his soldier dad is still in hospital and does not have a pension so they have to live on charity. He begs for practical presents for his little brothers, aged six and three.
Rationing is introduced as Britain remains in the grip of war. Letters to Santa become even more important as children covet toys, but some just worried about their family. One child wrote asking for milk for their baby brother and sister.
Queen Elizabeth comes to the throne and Mount Everest is scaled by Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay. Rationing came to an end in 1954 and TVs become more common in homes. One four year old girl got her mummy to write on Donald Duck paper asking for a white cowboy hat.
The Beatles were a hit, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men on the moon and the wider availability of domedstic appliances revolutionised life for busy mums. But little girls still saw their mothers do the vast majority of the work at home and a one, from Edinburgh, asked Santa for a carpet sweeper.
Most people remember the decade as one of picket lines, power cuts and struggles with the unions. But if you were a child it was the time of the Space Hopper, KerPlunk and the inevitable Curly Wurly found in your Xmas stocking. Star Wars toys were high on the wish list but one youngster wanted so much more - he wanted to go home with Santa.
This was an age of decadence and champagne in the City, while Thatcher ruled in politics. But it was also marked by recession and most ordinary families were all too aware of finances; one little girl apologised to Santa for asking for an expensive bike just like mums.
The 1990s Child’s last letter to Santa, found 50 years after his death, sheds moving light on the past
Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait and Britain sends in troops, prisoners riot at Strangeways and the world wide web went live. Far from the technological advances, a little boy is more worried about having no chimney for Santa.
The decade is defined by the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. Facebook and YouTube are launched, Pluto is relegated to a dwarf planet and Michael Jackson dies. As kids demand more technology, Nintendo Wii, Tamagotchi and Robosapiens all top the Christmas lists. But one child reminds Santa: Don’t forget the batteries.
A child writes a very modern Christmas letter when he includes the Amazon URL address on his note to Santa. Aptly, it’s posted on Twitter by a user called Gequeoman. But at least he asks how Father Christmas is.
7. The couple who answers every letter to Santa that comes to their address
Even though they no longer live in the apartment, they still work each year to have each Christmas letter fulfilled by a volunteer sponsor.
Glaub tells People he knew the previous tenant had been receiving letters to Santa when he first moved into the apartment alone, but he didn’t think much of it at first. “They never answered them because it was only three or four letters a year,” he said. “And the first two years I lived there, it was that exact thing. I’d get three letters and I didn’t really think anything of it. I was like, ‘Oh, sorry — wrong number.’ ”
But the letters continued to grow in number. By 2010, the couple, now married four years, received almost 450 letters to Santa. The holiday wishes were coming from nearby addresses. It was reading these sweet requests from children so close by that finally drove Glaub and Parker to turn themselves into honorary elves. “These were our neighbors in the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan … these were our people,” Glaub says. “I just felt this need to help them.”
They started the Facebook page Miracle on 22nd Street, where people can volunteer to take a letter that the couple selects at random and fulfill it by sending a gift to the child who wrote it. Thanks to the help of social media, word of mouth and a short film by Redglass Pictures on the couple’s project, for the past 6 years no letter to Santa has gone unanswered. The couple has since relocated across the pond to London, but they still manage the project, working with the current tenant and friends to get copies of all the letters in order connect them with volunteers.
While people are generous, it’s not always easy. Glaub told Scary Mommy the process can be stressful and that he was “begging” for sponsors only days ago. But in the spirit of the season, and just in time, all of these children (and probably some really surprised parents) will witness true Christmas magic.
Glaub shared a few of the letters they receive, and it’s both astonishing and sweet to read how some kids ask Santa for things for other people along with or even instead of gifts for themselves.
“This Christmas I don’t want much but a small favor to ask. I’ve been sick the past few weeks with gastritis (acid reflux) pain in the stomach. I just want to be able to have a happy holiday without pain,” one child writes. “I would also like it if you were able to bring my family, both parents and sister, plus those in Mexico a good stable health and a joyful Christmas,” they say. “… [I]n the concern of presents, I will just ask for you to bring anything that comes to mind.” I’m not the lucky soul who got to answer this child’s letter in lieu of Santa, but I hope there’s a giant ass teddy bear towering over the tree for them on Christmas morning.
Some children write to Santa requesting nothing at all for themselves.
“Oh and I was hoping if you could keep in mind the homeless man under the bridge and keep him safe, warm and healthy this upcoming year,” this letter reads.
Even though Glaub and Parker have found volunteers for all their letters this year, if you want to get in on the elf action yourself, there’s still a way to help Santa out. The US Postal Service gets it’s share of letters for the North Pole too, and through Operation Santa, you can adopt a letter to either respond to in writing or even send a gift.
2016 has not been the best of years, and that’s being polite about it. So here’s to the bright spots, like having the power to make a child’s Christmas wish come true.
8. ‘All I want for Christmas is my dog to come back’: British girl reunited with pet after letter to Santa Claus
Isla Kerr, 7, was heartbroken when her Boston terrier Dolly went missing — and decided a letter to Santa was the best way to get her dog back.
Dolly, who requires daily medication after losing her eyesight earlier this year, went missing from outside a shop near their home in West Yorkshire, England.
“Santa can do anything,” Isla told her mom Vanessa Meskimmon as she put pen to paper, according to Mirror Online.
Isla’s handwritten note read: “Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is my dog to come back.
“I do not care about presents, all I care about is my dog Dolly to come back. I miss her so much and love her.
“Love Isla Kerr xxxx.”
The family also shared posters appealing for information and just five days later, Isla was reunited with Dolly when her pup was spotted abandoned in a local park.
“Isla was absolutely delighted, and so was Dolly,” added Meskimmon.
“Dolly can’t see us but she knows who we are, she knows she’s home and it’s so lovely. She is part of our family. We can’t stop cuddling her, we’re so pleased to have her back.”
Now that her pup is home, Isla has reminded Santa of her original list, including requests for a Barbie house, some roller skates and a doll.