12/23/2013 12:29 pm ET

LIFE's Christmas Photos From 1947 Prove That Santa Doesn't Need An App To Make Kids Smile

'Tis the season for online Santa tracking and voicemails from the man in red. But what did children do in the time before smartphones? However did they connect with ol' Saint Nick?

Back in 1947, it seems they used a gloriously old-fashioned land-line. LIFE magazine dug through their archives from back then, and found adorable photos of children chatting up a real-life Santa. FAO Schwartz toy store had set up a call line where "children could dial [a] number (MU8-2205) and speak directly to Santa himself, laying out their wishes for the holiday," and the magazine sent a photographer to capture the magic.

While the practice may not have stood the test of time, the joy in their faces certainly has. These photos prove that a simple phone call can be just as powerful as a fancy app.

santa call

santa call

santa call

Click over to LIFE for the full gallery of photos.


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