Santa gets help with letter replies

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, December 22, 2009

While letter-writing is a lost art in today’s world, there isstill one man who gets plenty of mail, and he wears a red suit.

While some newspapers print letters to Santa that children writeat school, there are still some families penning their requests tothe man who sees you when you’re sleeping – just in case he’s notsure what the list includes this year.

Acting Brookhaven Postmaster Dena Longmire said the letters havebeen slacking off in recent years, possibly with the surge in thepopularity of the Internet, but that there are still a few piecesof correspondence that come through the local post offices boundfor the North Pole.

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“They have to,” she said with a smile. “Of course they must goall the way to the North Pole.”

The letters that are found in the local offices can go one oftwo ways (while en route to the North Pole, of course).

Some of the letters are sent back to the home of the child whowrote them in order to let the parents come up with a suitableresponse from Santa. After all, Santa IS very busy.

Other letters that come through the Brookhaven post offices areopened, and answers can be hand-written and sent back from the postoffice workers. Because if Santa answered all those lettershimself, his hand would, of course, be very tired.

“It used to be that the post office had outside people to answerthe letters, but with security the way it is now, we just can’t dothat anymore,” Longmire said.

But in the meantime, sometimes other things happen to thoseletters too, and sometimes putting them in the mailbox is the sameas putting them in a bottle and tossing them into the ocean.

“The mail that goes in the chute, sometimes it goes into a binand we never see it,” Longmire said. “When that’s the case, it maygo to Jackson. They may have someone there that handles it.”

A spokesperson for the U.S. Postal service in Jackson said theletters, depending on where in the country they come from, arerouted different ways. Some may be sent through a consumer affairsoffice, where sometimes approved local businesses will volunteertheir employees as “Santa’s Elves,” and they will help out bywriting letters back too.

Longmire, who lives in Crosby, said her children always writeletters to Santa, and he always responds.

Apparently he knows some people in the Crosby post office.