Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Sunday 25 July |
The Feast of Saint James the Great
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

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



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

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

Gift-giving is very much a part of Christmas celebrations around the globe, in memory 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! And 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 (unless you count the swaddling clothes).

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)

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Philip Kosloski
This morning prayer is easy to memorize
Cerith Gardiner
8 Powerful quotes from Nightbirde that will fill you with hope
Daniel Esparza
5 Curious things you might not know about Catholicism
Philip Kosloski
Why is Latin the official language of the Church, instead of Aram...
Daniel Esparza
3 Legendary pilgrimages off the beaten path
Daniel Esparza
Who are the cherubim in the Bible?
Zelda Caldwell
Did Jesus wear “tefillin” as some observant Jews do t...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.