When you go through the family archives, it's easy to pass over the small pieces of paper that made up daily life for your ancestors. But one Nova Scotia family's crumpled note written in cursive is driving home the message of Christmas in a big way this year.
This Christmas note written by London, ON native Homer Mellen in 1915 has become a huge hit online, thanks to its very simple requests:
In it, he asks for a box of paints, a nine-cent reader and a schoolbag to put them in. (Adorably, he also notes that if Santa has any nuts or toys or candy "to spare," he would appreciate those too.)
The note went viral after Mellen's granddaughter, Laurie Bloomfield, sent it to Good Morning American reporter Eliza Murphy, who had just written about a 7-year-old girl's Santa letter that asked for, among other things, $1,000 dollars, a new American Girl doll and an iPod Touch.
Bloomfield, a fourth-grade teacher in Antigonish, NS, wanted to demonstrate that kids had not always been this way.
"[It was] a testament to a time when things were much simpler," Bloomfield tells The Huffington Post Canada. "It is so important because of the sweet sentiment it offers. [My grandfather's] words are so humble and so polite."
The letter had been kept in a keepsake box by Bloomfield's great-grandmother, which contained other mementos like locks of hair, photographs and important family papers. It's been passed down through the generations until it reached Bloomfield, who remembers her grandfather as personifying the sentiments of this letter.
"My grandfather was a humble man who was determined to make the best of himself," she says. And for her part, she remembers Christmases with her six siblings "full of excitement for the day."
Bloomfield is pleased so many people have responded to her grandfather's letter positively. After all, she notes, "in his kind letter to Santa, he expresses the true meaning of Christmas."
Also on HuffPost:
Santa And Letters
Could you imagine writing a million letters in a year? No? Well the faithful elves at Canada Post can. Every year, they help <a href="http://www.canadapost.ca/dec/santa/writesanta/default-e.asp" target="_hplink">Santa respond to more than a million letters and emails in dozens of languages -- even braille</a>. Talk about impressive. Canada has even secured a postal code for Santa -- HOH OHO.
Santa At The Mall
Santa has been hanging out at malls and having kids sit on his lap since 1890. Santa's workshop or Santa's Grotto are common names for the little set ups in shopping centres around the world. It's not always easy for Santa at the mall -- he has to contend with <a href="http://www.aolnews.com/2010/12/21/its-hard-out-there-for-a-mall-santa/" target="_hplink">endless noise, overheating from wearing his suit, crying kids, and the occasional strawberry in the head</a>, according to one Santa, who revealed all last year to AOL News.
Santa Is Canadian
According to Canada the North Pole lands in Canada's jurisdiction in postal code HOH OHO and in 2008, Jason Kenney, Canada's minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, formally awarded Canadian citizenship status to Santa Claus. "The Government of Canada wishes Santa the very best in his Christmas Eve duties and wants to let him know that, as a Canadian citizen, he has the automatic right to re-enter Canada once his trip around the world is complete," Kenney said in an official statement.
Although he is iconic, Santa does vary a little from country to country. Take for example, the traditional Dutch Sinterklaas. Sinterklaas lives in Spain during the year, and he sails to The Netherlands on his boat at the end of December. He has a helper named Zwarte Piet, which translates to Black Peter. Piet was once an Ethiopian slave that Sinterklaas freed, so Piet decided to thank him by helping him deliver presents and toss candy during the holiday season. In North America if you're bad, you get a lump of coal. In The Netherlands, if you are bad, you get tossed in Piet's bag and taken back to Spain. Sinterklaas also leaves money and candy in the shoes of Dutch children.
Santa's a pretty hip guy for being as old as he is. He's up on the technology nowadays. Because as our world advances, so does Santa's! You can track Santa on Christmas Eve and see where he's dropping presents off with his sleigh and reindeer posse in tow on the internet. But NORAD has actually been tracking Santa since 1955 -- via the radio, television, and print updates. Everyone always wants to know where Santa is.