Dear Abby : How the Classic Advice Column Creates Connection this Holiday season


The Chicago Post

A Dear Abby Column regarding the holiday season

Magdalena Aparicio, Photojournalist

Advice comes in many forms – solicited or unsolicited – from friends, co-workers, parents, and family. The comfort of anonymity when asking life’s toughest questions can typically be found only behind a screen, or rather, through a pen.


Dear Abby, an advice column started by Pauline Phillips over 60 years ago, continues in 2022. Today, relatives to Phillips continue to answer and advise Americans under the name “Abigail Van Buren.” Throughout the years, Dear Abby’s quick-witted, sarcastic, and practical tone both advised and entertained inquiries. 

I think advice columns can still be used today, I usually get my advice from my friends or online, but getting advice from a real person is more valuable than getting advice from behind a screen.

— Kimberly Short (12)

Advice from over 30 years ago can be applied to various situations in work, school, or at home. Today, anyone can contact “Abigail Van Buren” online or traditionally through mail. 

In the 2020 holiday season,  Abby gave advice for making it through the holidays and affording Christmas gifts. Today, Abby still gives timeless guidance for holiday planning, gift giving, and hosting etiquette. Some answers regarding the holiday season can be found in various columns like “Dear Abby: Enjoying a birthday at Christmastime” and “Dear Abby: I don’t want mom to spend Christmas alone

Dear Abby serves as a reflection of America. With consistent questions dating back to 1956, the advice column has shown changes in culture. Questions today relate to social media, online dating, and more. 

While reaching out to Dear Abby may be perceived as outdated, the column still stands, offering advice to loyal readers and listeners. 

In 2002 Abby responded to a letter inquiring whether or to tell children the truth about Santa Claus. She referenced an 1897 advice column, titled “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus,” affirming that Santa Claus is indeed real and magical.

“I think advice columns can still be used today,” says Kimberly Short (12). “I usually get my advice from my friends or online,” she adds, “but getting advice from a real person is more valuable than getting advice from behind a screen.”

This holiday season, you can write to Dear Abby online or by hand to get genuine advice about family, gifts, stress, and more.