Written By: Ben Cosgrove

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 December 15, 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, a briefcase.

Here, LIFE.com presents photos by Martha Holmes from that article as well as some other “Awww”-inspiring pictures that never ran in the magazine.

Calling Santa, 1947

Calling Santa, 1947

Martha Holmes / The LIFE Picture Collection

Calling Santa, 1947.

Calling Santa, 1947

Martha Holmes / The LIFE Picture Collection

Patricia Guinan promises to leave out milk and crackers for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, 1947.

Calling Santa, 1947

Caption from LIFE: “Patricia Guinan promises to leave out milk and crackers for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, 1947.” (Martha Holmes / The LIFE Picture Collection)

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.

Calling Santa, 1947

Caption from LIFE: “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.” (Martha Holmes / The LIFE Picture Collection)

Jo Ann Ward "began with aplomb by saying, 'Hello, Santa Claus. How you feel?'" The three-year-old wanted a doll and a boat.

Calling Santa, 1947

Caption from LIFE: “Jo Ann Ward began with aplomb by saying, ‘Hello, Santa Claus. How you feel?'” The three-year-old wanted a doll and a boat.” (Martha Holmes / The LIFE Picture Collection)

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.

Calling Santa, 1947

Caption from LIFE: “‘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.'” (Martha Holmes / The LIFE Picture Collection)

Elaine Jung is 6, wants a doll's house and carriage, also asked Santa to be sure not to forget her baby sister

Calling Santa, 1947

Caption from LIFE: “Elaine Jung is 6, wants a doll’s house and carriage, also asked Santa to be sure not to forget her baby sister.” (Martha Holmes / The LIFE Picture Collection)

Jimmy O'Brien, 4, asked for a bike and a sailboat. "When Santa asked where he lived," LIFE reported, "he said, 'You know where.'"

Calling Santa, 1947

Caption from LIFE: “Jimmy O’Brien, 4, asked for a bike and a sailboat. When Santa asked where he lived, he said, ‘You know where.'” (Martha Holmes / The LIFE Picture Collection)

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

Caption from LIFE: “Christopher Lange, the son of Poland’s U.N. delegate Oscar Lange is nearly 8 years old 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.)” (Martha Holmes / The LIFE Picture Collection)

Calling Santa, 1947.

Calling Santa, 1947

Martha Holmes / The LIFE Picture Collection

Santa Himself and Mrs. Claus," LIFE wrote, "who sometimes wear red coats to keep in character, answer calls at the Schwarz workshop

F.A.O. Schwarz, 1947

Caption from LIFE: “Santa Himself and Mrs. Claus, who sometimes wear red coats to keep in character, answer calls at the Schwarz workshop.” (Martha Holmes / The LIFE Picture Collection)

"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."

F.A.O. Schwarz, 1947

Caption from LIFE: “Schwarz’s President, Philip Kirkham, 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.'” (Martha Holmes / The LIFE Picture Collection)

Calling Santa, 1947.

Calling Santa, 1947

Martha Holmes/ The LIFE Picture Collection

Bann Kernan, 7, calls Santa, 1947.

Calling Santa, 1947

Caption from LIFE: “Bann Kernan, 7, calls Santa.” (Martha Holmes / The LIFE Picture Collection)

Calling Santa, 1947.

Calling Santa, 1947

Martha Holmes / The LIFE Picture Collection

Calling Santa, 1947.

Calling Santa, 1947

Martha Holmes / The LIFE Picture Collection

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