Press Release for: Baldwin City Community News

By Cathenry

December 5, 2018


Writing a Letter to Santa?

(WC 823)

Legend has it that Santa periodically and randomly picks a regional location annually as his pit stop when making numerous appearances and the like to the community/region at large.  Such could be the case for Baldwin City, KS 2018. Since November 17th he has been spotted almost everywhere here if you are looking for him.

One indicator of his whereabouts is the number of receptacles for Santa Letters throughout the city.  Before Santa’s big night this year, he receives countless letters. Those special metal large red and green receptacles can be found at outside a couple of storefronts (Midland Railway office and Papa’s Nest (Egg) Vintage store on High Street, particularly on weekends.  Two smaller additional wooden ones (crafted by the Baldwin High School shop students) can also be temporarily located at the Lumberyard Art Center and Homestead Bakery, the latter located on 8th street.   And then of course, mailing at the Post Office which in Baldwin City, still the community hub.   

Some may think letter writing is a bit of a lost art in today’s digital society aside for the quick handwritten a note and even those end up being texted. Speaking of helpers, answering the letters written to Santa can be an overwhelming task, and as with his appearances, there are helpers.

Santa’s a busy guy needless to say this time of year.  You can find him, or his helpers, making guest appearances for photos and introductions.  The thing is you never know if it is the big guy in the red suit is the real McCoy or not. Best to stop at each one and greet.  In Baldwin City, he can have been spotted at on the Polar Express™ Train Ride, at the fire station on Saturday nights (4-8 p.m.). He’s been at recent breakfasts and in parades, And, well, quite frankly, whatever seasonal office parties, elementary school’s celebration, Assisted Living and nursing homes he can make.

Meanwhile the United States Postal Service (USPS) Operation Santa™ is in full swing.

The Baldwin City Community News has obtained an exclusive interview with one of the letter helpers who, for confidentiality and security reasons, requests to remain anonymous.  This elf, of sorts, has over 13 years’ experience helping Santa respond to letters and agreed to answer some questions (additional info/background follows each answer).

Q: “What is the usual content found in a letter to Santa?”

A: “Mainly the kids ask for toys.  It differs region to region, in larger cities, it’s for clothes, coats, that sort of thing.”

There are two ways to send letters:  to Legacy Operation Santa and through Digital Operation Santa ( Only self-stamped return addressed letters sent specifically to the North Pole (North Pole Postmark Postmaster, 4141 Postmark Dr., Anchorage, AK  99530-9998, deadline Dec. 15th for guaranteed response) receives a response from there.  You don’t have to pout though (you better not!) if you missed the deadline, letters addressed to simply Santa are received as well.   Generally beginning the first week of December, groups of postal employees around the country begin sorting Santa letters.

Back in 1912 when Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock authorized local postmasters to allow postal employees and citizens to respond to the letters — this became known as Operation Santa.  In the 1940s, mail volume for Santa increased so much that the Postal Service invited charitable organizations and corporations to participate — providing written responses and small gifts.

Q: “Does a letter guarantee receipt of a requested item?”

A: “Not necessarily, (that’s up to the big guy) I generically respond so they know the letter has been received expressing gladness that they wrote and that we are doing our best.”

A big thing to remember is to include your return address. While Santa knows where your house is, his postal team may need extra instructions, so please include your address to ensure your letter is delivered on time. Postage is nice, but not necessary when addressed “Santa” only. You don’t need to add a stamp, but Mrs. Claus loves to see stickers and the children’s artwork.

Q “What has been your funniest letter received?”

A: “This year’s someone already asked for an Elf on Shelf so they can find him each morning.”  

Q: “What has been your most difficult letter to respond?”

A: “Again, I keep response generic enough.”

Parents can help out too by writing a personalized response to the child’s letter and sign it “From Santa.”  (include the stamp and return address). To save on paper just respond on the back of the child’s letter.

Q: “Why should someone write Santa a letter during this winter holiday season?”

A: “To keep the magic alive!”

Contents of the letter should include how the child has been nice (not naughty) in the past year what with sharing any good deeds, doing some chores, listening and doing what mommy and daddy say, being friendly, good grades, etc.  Santa loves to hear about these things.

Happy letter writing!