The Boston Globe

Globe Santa: A dream you can hold in your hand

Kids write to Globe Santa about books.

Barbara Lynch Photography
The Salem Snowball Gala has been supporting Globe Santa for 28 years. This year's donation of $26,000 brought the total of funds raised for the program to $291,000. Gathered at the Hawthorne Hotel (from left to right) were Frank Romano, Sheri Riter, Bill Lynch, Jane Fuller, Pat Buonopane, Dave Silvey, Juliet Silvey, Colton Fontaine, Alyssa Drouin and Globe Santa executive director Bill Connolly. BARBARA LYNCH PHOTOGRAPHY

For 67 years Globe Santa, a program of the Boston Globe Foundation, has provided gifts to children in need at holiday time. Please consider giving by phone, mail or online at

Every letter to Globe Santa is a story.

“I am in the 4th grade,” this story began. The author is 9.

“I really love to read and draw,” she wrote. “I can’t use fancy stuff because I don’t have. Instead, I just use a pencil and scrap paper, and if I’m really lucky I can use the rest of my paper in my school notebooks.


“I try not to demand for so much, because we can’t afford. Whenever my siblings grow out of stuff, they let me use it, like sweatshirts, joggers, and hats. I always think to myself that I’m lucky that I can get food on my table and clothes from my siblings.

“But last year, Globe Santa, you guys really made my Christmas happy,” she said, “because I don’t normally get stuff like books. I felt the happiest I could ever be.”

Her school provides laptops, “so I can read books on them, but there is a time limit for the books, so that’s why I like books that you can hold in your hand.”

The fantasy writer Neil Gaiman said: “A book is a dream that you hold in your hands.”

Globe Santa’s motto is “deliver joy,” and it comes in boxes of toys, family games, and the “gift you can open again and again,” writer and radio host Garrison Keillor calls them — books.

A 5-year-old writer chimes in to Globe Santa. If pen and paper could talk, the letter would be squeaking with excitement.


“I want to tell you some news! Remember the last letter I sent you, that said I didn’t speak? That I had a delay in my speech because of autism?

“Today I want to tell you the books helped me a lot in my development. I can speak several sentences!”

That a book aids in a child’s development is probably not the number one priority of most kids, but it matters to Gary Tampone, Globe Santa’s professional buyer of toys and books.

“I like a book that has a purpose,” he said. “A story that has some meaning, some value, something you’d like the child to learn about. That’s what we want to aid in, the development of a child’s mind.”

But, Tampone said, “It has to be fun!”

His book picks tend toward classics, winners of awards like the Caldecott and Newbery medals, and the Boston Globe-Horn Book award.

“We like to read before bedtime, so we read lots of stories,” a 12-year-old boy wrote to Globe Santa, for himself and his 7-year-old sister.

Because his sister is little, he said, she also “likes stuffed animals like teddy bears,” but he loves “science books, or geographics books, anything that make more knowledge for me, about the Earth and space and science.”


“Thank you, Santa,” he said. “We love you so much, and we love our Beloved United States of America.”

“I am 11 and oldest of four girls. I want to be an author,” comes a declaration in dark pencil, blocky and bold.

“My family is having a tough time this year. My single mother doesn’t have a job, and we live in a tight apartment. We are not able to catch up on our monthly bills. But we are looking forward to the future.”

A book can look forward to the future; it can look back at the past. It can be a light in the attic, a room with a view, a purple crayon. On a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, there is no better escape than getting lost in a good book.

“I hope you have rested up from last year. It must be really hard to make millions of kids happy around the world.” The author of this story is 11 (and a half), writing in a small, neat hand for herself and her sister, who is 4.

“I just wanted to tell you me and my sister have been really good kids. I get really good grades, and my sister always cleans up her mess at school and is very kind to her classmates,” she wrote.

“I think my sister would like some new books to read,” she said. “As for me, I think that I would like some books, as well. I am in the 6th grade, and I think reading is an essential skill to help me succeed. I want to be a pediatric neurologist when I grow up. To get there you have to read a lot of books. Why not start now?”


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