“Because of Covid-19 this Christmas, I won’t be getting any presents because we’re struggling with money,” wrote Ashley, 14, of California, who requested a Sephora gift card and lights LED for his bedroom. “My parents don’t really have a job.”
Single mother of four in Illinois, Glenda, wrote that her hours had been reduced due to the pandemic and that she was struggling. “I am writing this letter in the hope of giving my children a somewhat normal Christmas this year with your help,” she wrote.
The Postal Service program began in 1912 in response to the flood of letters addressed to Santa Claus that the post office received each Christmas. The postmaster at the time, Frank Hitchcock, allowed local postmasters to open letters so that employees could read and reply to them. In 1940, members of the public were invited to respond and send gifts, and since then children in need, and sometimes parents, wrote their dreams down on pieces of paper and sent them to the North Pole.
Prior to 2008, adults received the name and address of the child whose wish list they chose to complete and sent the gifts directly to the child. But now, for security reasons, the name and address of each child is withheld. Adults send their packages to the post office, which then ships them to the children.
All letters to Santa this year did not mention the coronavirus or contain wish lists. Some offered a confession, such as a letter from Zoey in California (“I was not nice to my brother”).
Ellie from California wanted to know if Santa Claus went to church, while Emerson from Texas wanted to know how she could become an elf for the day. “Please respond,” she wrote.
“Thank you, Santa Claus!” he wrote, signing. “I wish Covid was over so we could kiss.