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Arts & Entertainment Letters to Santa program to begin this week

Each winter, scores of children from around the world write their holiday wish list to one man—Santa Claus.

The yearly tradition of writing a letter to the big man in red goes back hundreds of years. While the language and style of each letter may vary, the same general theme applies: Maintaining good behavior for a whole year dictates whether the kids get what they asked for.

Reading and answering each letter is no easy task, especially when Claus has the added challenge of getting the desired gifts to deserving youth.

So while Good Ol’ Saint Nick doesn’t have the time to answer each letter, he does have an organized network of volunteers to help him keep his operations going.

In cities and towns all over the globe, some people volunteer their time toward making sure Clause letters get read and, hopefully, answered.

In the U.S., one such notable organization that has been providing assistance in letter-writing for years is Operation Santa Claus out of New York City. According to the organization’s official Web site, Operation Santa Claus began informally in the early 1920s, when New York postal clerks began chipping in their own money to buy gifts for poor kids whose notes to Santa ended up in the dead-letter office.

But there are also local efforts to get the letters answered.

For its fourth year, the “Letters to Santa” program will be held in Franklin, as the need for help has steadily increased in the region, according to volunteer program director Linda Schlott.

“Last year we collected 325 letters to send to Santa,” said Schlott. “We invite all of the local youngsters to write Santa… Every letter is answered.” The program will be up and running on Wednesday, Nov. 23.

Schlott added that the deadline for letters to be turned in is December 12, and requested that anyone interested in writing Clause also provide a return address on the front of their envelope, in order to make things easier for him to write back. She added that on the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, local kids can write their letters at Town Hall where Schlott can expedite their departure for the North Pole.

A mailbox for the “Letters to Santa” program is being set up in front of the Burrell Building beginning Thanksgiving week.


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