Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Friday 09 June |
Saint of the Day: St. Ephrem of Syria
Aleteia logo
separateurCreated with Sketch.

See what the future Benedict XVI asked for for Christmas when he was 7



Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 12/26/19 - updated on 12/21/21

The Ratzinger home must really have been a little Nazareth. Wow!

What can God do in your life with one Bible verse a day?
Subscribe to Aleteia's new service and bring Scripture into your morning:
Just one verse each day.
Click to bring God's word to your inbox

Gift-giving is very much a part of Christmas festivities around the globe, in celebration of God’s gift of his Son to us on Christmas Day. Accompanying the tradition of giving gifts is the tradition of asking for them! Kids, especially, delight in this part.

However, in different parts of the world and in different eras of history, the person or persons who are petitioned are different.

So, for example, in Spain and much of Latin America, children ask their gifts of the Three Kings, reminiscent of the fact that it was the Kings who brought Baby Jesus his first gifts.

While Santa Claus is the one petitioned in the United States, especially among Catholic families it’s recalled that Santa Claus is really St. Nicholas, so letters are addressed to the saint.

And in some countries, it’s common to ask Christmas gifts of Baby Jesus himself.

This was the case in the 1930s in Germany, where young Joseph Ratzinger and his older brother and sister penned their Christmas requests to Baby Jesus on a single sheet of paper (no need to waste!).

Read what little 7-year-old Joseph was most desiring. The Ratzinger home really must been a little Nazareth. So amazing!


“Dear Baby Jesus, quickly come down to earth. You will bring joy to children. Also bring me joy. I would like a Volks-Schott (a Mass prayers book), green clothing for Mass (clerical clothing) and a heart of Jesus. I will always be good. Greetings from Joseph Ratzinger.”

– 7-year-old Joseph Ratzinger’s letter to Jesus (1934)

ChristmasPope Benedict XVI
Support Aleteia!

Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Thanks to their partnership in our mission, we reach more than 20 million unique users per month!

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting and transformative Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Support Aleteia with a gift today!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Entrust your prayer intentions to our network of monasteries

Top 10
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.