The tiny town might be 6,000 kilometers south of the North Pole, but the residents are a few of Santa’s best helpers. That’s because each and every year, these volunteer elves get nearly 25,000 letters designed for Old Saint Nick. The U.S. Postal Service ensures they arrive irrespective of how they’re addressed.
Ed Reinhart, who serves as Chief Mail Elf, reports, “They can be found in the mail and that’s all they already have upon them – Santa or Santa, North Pole. A few of them say ‘the guy in the big red suit’.” In other cases, letters from young kids arrive without having a stamp or just a sticker in the corner.
Head Elf Pat Koch says the volunteers answer every one of them, and have been doing this for more than a century. “From the earliest we know is the postmaster started answering letters in 1914 that kids wrote.”
By 1930, the postmaster was overwhelmed. When Pat’s father heard, he organized local veterans, the American Legion, area clergy and the secondary school typing classes into the first volunteer letter-writing elves. Pat started helping 10 years later.
These days, the elves send out certainly one of four form letters from santa claus that bear positive messages about sharing, being good, and helping others. “We never promise anything, and that we never admonish anything. We merely encourage,” Pat says, adding that each letter is individualized. “So they already have their name in the letter and there’s something personal.”
Whilst they make an effort to answer every letter, the elves are saddened when no return address is included. Their research team attempts to track the letters by post marked zip code, but sometimes that’s inadequate. Therefore they encourage parents to continually search for return addresses before letters are mailed. To have a reply from Santa, letters must arrive by December 21. The elves will respond afterward, but it could be a couple of days late.
Letters to Santa arrive year round, but the majority of them come in November and December. Ed Rinehart believes there isn’t a country that hasn’t been heard from.
This season, Hatchimals (electronic toys that could come in plastic eggs), iPhones, puppies, and ponies are all big requests from kids. But there are plenty of requests from adults too. Younger people from China ask to complete well on exams or end up in university. “We’ve had some adults which may have requested a diamond ring or even a husband,” Rinehart reports using a laugh. “We’ve had adults that demand healing.”
By using an average day, he needs a thousand letters towards the post office, where he stamps all of them with a Santa Claus stamp, specially designed each and every year with a local high school graduation student.
The elves of Santa Claus never dreamed their good deeds would get a great deal attention. Despite suggestions that people purchase the letters from Santa, they hold firm within their dexopky92 to keep the service for free. As Pat Koch says, “Exactly what happens, happens because there are good people that value the true Christmas spirit along with the real concept of Christmas.”