We proceeded to read through all the letters, and record any requests mentioned. I assume the letters were hand-written and sent to the paper, which were then typed for the paper. Whatever happened resulted in a lot of gibberish words that are weird even for young children. But for the requests that we could read, we've recorded those.
|Scan of some of the letters to Santa.|
And here's a graph of the results.
|Click for more detail|
Game NumbersiPod/iPad/tablet: 56 request (14% of all requests, largest single category)
Computer/laptop: 14 requests
Nintendo 3DS: 13
Microsoft Xbox 360: 12
Various video games (includes Skylander/Disney Infinity): 11
Nintendo Wii U: 10
Microsoft Xbox One: 9
Video Game related Toys: 6
Sony PS3: 3
Sony PS4 (or PS5): 3
What Do The Numbers Mean?The fun part of numbers like these is trying to sort out what they could mean on a broader scale.
If we compare all touch-screen system requests (56) to all traditional game consoles/handhelds (50), it's actually pretty close. These are young kids who probably already play a lot of tablets or hear about them, but it's interesting to see that traditional game consoles held their own.
Santa RequestsVideo Game related requests account for almost 40% of what kids wanted this Christmas! That seems like a lot! Does it mean kids aren't going outside anymore, or drawing, or playing tag? Not really--going outside is (thankfully) still free. They don't have to put it on a list to Santa. They already have it. Paper, pencils... those are cheap as well. So are most books. Most kids probably have plenty of paper on which to draw, and books to read, and outdoors to explore.
It's important to consider that a request to Santa Claus doesn't necessarily mean that the request is a child's favorite thing. The request is probably, mostly about being a thing *they don't have*, which means it's probably missing currently because it's expensive. Video Games (especially systems) are expensive.