Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas in the Newspaper

For hundreds of years the newspaper was the only way to keep abreast of activity going on in the town. Junction City was no different than any other town. However news has not always been as strictly defined as it is today. Around the holidays the newspaper was a way for people to connect with traditions of the past, and one of the most popular methods was the “Letters to Santa” column. Children from all over town wrote letters to Santa Claus which were then published, free of charge, in the newspaper. The following letter came from the Dec. 12th 1963 edition of the Republic Newspaper.

Dear Santa Claus,

I am five years old and I go to school. I am a pretty good boy most of the time. My little brother, Timmy, has the chicken pox. He’s two years old.

I want an Army tank, some tools, and a truck for Christmas. Please put something in your sack for my little brother too. He likes cars and trucks.

Thank you for all the toys you left last year.

Your friend,

Terry Wunder

135 W. 3rd St.

The Republic Newspaper wasn’t the only one in Junction City that would publish these letters either. The Blue Jay Newspaper had a column called “Santa’s Letter Box” and the letter below was sent in by a Mr. Bob Baity.

Dear Santa:

I am just a “Freshy” this year, but I have been awfully good. Please bring an electric cho cho train, a B. B. gun and a jumping jack. I’ll leave you a chicken sandwich by the fireplace.

Your friend,

            Bob Baity.

Letters like these were printed each year in the weeks leading up to Christmas. These letters were a regular feature throughout the month of December in many of the small-town weekly papers. Many are short and to the point, lots are amusing, and a few reveal heartbreaking details about the difficult lives led by some of the kids, especially during the depression.

Another popular section in the newspaper around Christmas was the “I REMEMBER WHEN –“column. In 1953 the newspaper printed Christmas stories from 15, 25, and even 75 years previous. This column was meant to highlight annual traditions, and remind readers of how these traditions have grown over the years. One such tradition that was highlighted in 1953 was the annual Christmas Light contest. This column mentions the winners from December of 1938.
Awards made for the Christmas light contest sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce are as follows: R. V. Sjoholm, 240 West First, first place, $15. Arnold Deppish, 426 North Webster, second, $10. Mrs. Mae Wood, 404 North Adams, third, $5. Prizes for displays costing less than $10 went to Glenn and Harry Lytle Jr., 436 West 8th, Ray Couger, 117 East 11th St, second, __ewton Dent, 832 W. 5th, third. Others who entered in the over $10 class were E. L. Patterson, 826 North Jackson, and Abbie Moses, 332 West Sixth. Other entrants in the under $10 class were Mrs. J. W. Deppish, 903 N. Jefferson, Dr. D. L. Garrigues, 524 N. Jefferson and A. W. Weaver, 537 West Second.

Lincoln School Children in the Departmental Auditorium.