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Calling Santa, 1947
Calling Santa, 1947Martha Holmes—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Calling Santa, 1947
Calling Santa, 1947.
Patricia Guinan promises to leave out milk and crackers for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, 1947.
Bann Kernan, who is 7 years old, squirms with delight as she asks Santa for a wrist watch." Moments later she gave the phone to her younger brother, Bennie, 5, who requested a train.
Jo Ann Ward "began with aplomb by saying, 'Hello, Santa Claus. How you feel?'" The three-year-old wanted a doll and a boat.
After "making sure he could not hear and be disillusioned," Bann Kernan "whispered confidingly to the LIFE researcher" that there is "no Santa Claus," while brother Bennie remained blissfully unaware.
Elaine Jung is 6, wants a doll's house and carriage, also asked Santa to be sure not to forget her baby sister
Jimmy O'Brien, 4, asked for a bike and a sailboat. "When Santa asked where he lived," LIFE reported, "he said, 'You know where.'"
Christopher Lange, the son of Poland's U.N. delegate Oscar Lange, "is nearly 8 years old," LIFE wrote, "and a firm believer in Santa Claus." He "showed his official background by requesting the badge of the profession, a briefcase, for Christmas." (He also asked for a paint set.)
Calling Santa, 1947.
Santa Himself and Mrs. Claus," LIFE wrote, "who sometimes wear red coats to keep in character, answer calls at the Schwarz workshop
"Schwarz's President, Philip Kirkham," LIFE noted, "used to play Santa for the benefit of special customers' children by shouting good cheer up a dumbwaiter shaft." The first time he did it, employees thought he was "a little daft."
Calling Santa, 1947.
Bann Kernan, 7, calls Santa, 1947.
Calling Santa, 1947.
Calling Santa, 1947.
Calling Santa, 1947
Martha Holmes—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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Christmas Wishes: Photos of Kids on the Phone With Santa, 1947

Dec 01, 2013

This little girl is talking to Santa Claus, and so may any other girl or boy who telephones Murray Hill 8-2205 in New York between now and Christmas.

Thus reads a photo caption in a 1947 LIFE magazine story about some holiday subterfuge devised by the famed New York toy store, FAO Schwarz. The clever gambit involved an FAO-produced phone system on which children could dial that number (MU8-2205) and speak directly to Santa himself, laying out their wishes for the holiday: world peace, universal human fellowship, a train set, a bunny. You know, the usual.

Here, LIFE.com presents photos from that article — as well as some other "Awww"-inspiring pictures that never ran in the magazine.

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