A commercial in 1987 encouraged children to do this for Santa.
Call a 900 number
900 numbers started with ABC’s Nightline in 1980 asking viewers to take a poll. In the years that followed, 900 numbers (which did cost money) were used for everything from calling the space shuttle to naughty adult lines. By the end of the decade, it was nearly a billion dollar industry.
In 1987, an ad agency in Seattle put out a TV commercial for Santa that encouraged kids to call 900-909-4300 to get a message from Santa, a letter, and a special gift. One version even made it so the TV played tones to automatically dial the number when kids held the phone to the TV.
Fortunately, in 1993, the FTC banned all 900 numbers aimed at kids. The number officially ended in 2012.
Here's one version of the commercial: