Lewis Shaw was working on a renovation in Caversham, England, when something he found in the fireplace took him back in time.
A letter to Santa, written more than half-a-century ago and secreted in the chimney, provided Shaw with a glimpse of a humbler kind of Christmas list.
As Yahoo News reports, Shaw and his co-workers were removing the chimney from a house when they found a folded piece of paper. Opening it, he realized that they had stumbled onto a boy’s letter to Santa Claus.
Dear Father Christmas,
Please can you send me Rupert Annual and a drum, box of chalk, soldiers and Indians, slippers, silk tie, pencil box, any little toys you have to spare.
Tracing the history of the house and its owners, Shaw realized that David must have written his letter more than half a century ago.
But what really struck him was how simple the requests were.
“I was quite surprised,” Shaw told ABC News. “It’s not something you find everyday. The things he was asking for were very humble. He was asking for the things he needed in life, rather than the things he wanted.”
A wish list that included chalk, slippers, and “little toys” was a big contrast to the modern Christmas lists that Shaw has seen.
“It shocks me because obviously my generation and the kids of today, you expect the gifts you ask for like the games condole, the IPads, phones … compared to the toy soldiers and pencil box he wanted,” said Shaw. “Some Christmases I’ve seen [lists] 3 pages long these days. [It was] quite a personal thing that touched my heart and everybody elses who was working on the site.”
After posting a photo of the list on Facebook, Shaw was put in touch with the David of the letter.
Now, he plans to meet David and give him a very special present— a box with every item on David’s childhood wish list. After having been touched by the letter, Shaw wants to make sure it is returned to its original author.
“We plan on giving the note back,” he said. “I think that note means something to him because that house [where we found the letter] is his family home.”
David’s requests are an indication of simpler times, and a reminder that Christmas is about so much more than the gifts we receive.