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Journalist and author.

The Santa Claus Man

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Santa Claus Man in the New York Times!

Posted on November 27, 2015

My Black Friday got off to a great start with this inclusion of The Santa Claus Man in the New York Times. I had a fun and lively chat with the Times' Antiques columnist, Eve Kahn, about Santa letters, the story of John Gluck and his Santa Claus Association, and the rise of modern charity (and charity fraud) directly after the Great War. It was a really enjoyable conversation and I'm happy to see how it turned out. Appropriately (for both Black Friday and a Santa-themed tale), it appeared in the Gift Guide section of ArtsBeat. I'm sure John Gluck would have been thrilled to know that 100 years later, he's still getting covered in the Times.

The story also discussed a pair of terrific anthologies of Santa letters that I also recommend. Dear Santa is an entertaining collection of letters going back to the 1870s (when kids started sending letters through the post office, not just leaving them on the chimney or in their stockings), while Letters to Santa provides tons of quirky and colorful letters collected from Santa Claus, IN (yes, that's a real city). I had a wonderful conversation with Emily Weisner Thompson, editor of the latter book, for a piece about the history of Santa letters I'm doing for Smithsonian, and learned how tough it was for she and her team to select which letters to include. While the book includes some 250 letters going back to the 1930s, their post office received 15,000 letters just last year. Deciding which made the cut was not easy.

Anyway, enjoy the Times piece, and be sure to check out all the terrific Santa-letter volumes available this season!

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