Post office, church groups respond to Santa letters

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    By Elizabeth Hill

    Throughout the Holiday season, thousands of letters pour into local post offices addressed to Santa Claus from children from all over the state. Some children have become more persistent than others, but all of them get a response from Santa.

    “There is one little boy who has written to Santa Claus every month this year,” said Jill Hughes, a mail carrier out of the main office in Provo. “This month Santa got a package from the same boy. He had decorated a stocking with glitter and written Santa”s name on it.”

    Hughes said most children send decorated letters with lists of toys they want for Christmas, but other children make special requests.

    “One year I got a letter from a little girl whose dad had died,” Hughes said. “The next Christmas Santa brought her a telescope. She said she felt closer to her dad when she used the telescope to look up at the stars.” That same year, her house burned down and the telescope was destroyed. Hughes and her friend went out and bought a new telescope for the girl and had a mail carrier in St. George deliver the present.

    “Every once in a while you get really needy letters, and the carriers take things to those families,” Hughes said.

    Alan LeFevre, a supervisor at the post office in Orem, said as of now there are more people volunteering to respond to the letters than there are letters to respond to. Usually church groups, school organizations and families volunteer to respond to the letters.

    This year post offices around the state are supposed to send all Santa letters to the Consumer Affairs office in Salt Lake, but LeFevre, who has played the role of Santa for more than 30 years at private Christmas parties, said he still enjoys responding to the letters.

    LeFevre said every child who writes to Santa gets a personalized letter in return, but no specific promises.

    LeFevre still carries in his Santa bag a letter he received years ago.

    “I remember years ago getting a letter from a little girl that said, ”I don”t want that purse any more. All I want is for my parents to be happy,”” LeFevre said. “I just said that I would see what I could do, but there are some things that Santa has no control over. I told her that Santa could make little children happy, but couldn”t always make parents happy.”

    If parents would like to respond to their children”s letters to Santa, LeFevre said they could take a self-addressed envelope to the post office. The mail carriers will then send the letter to North Pole, Alaska. When the letter returns to the child”s house it will have a postmarked stamp from the North Pole.

    Hughes said she thinks it is important for someone to respond to the children”s letters because it keeps the spirit of Christmas alive.

    “I think it”s important to perpetuate a belief in Santa Claus,” Hughes said. “It makes Christmas more fun for the children and for the parents. Santa Claus emulates giving and the Christmas spirit.”

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