By Hayley Young

What is better than getting a letter from Santa Claus? Not much, apart from the presents delivered from the big guy. I cannot deliver the happiness those presents bring but I can deliver the magic a letter from Santa brings.

It started when I was a kid. A gentleman by the name of Dave Rivenes collected letters at the local post office written to Santa, took them home and on his typewriter, wrote letters to the children in return. Those letters were the highlight of my Christmas, a few of them saved away with other childhood mementos. It’s always fun to read what I asked for and how Santa responded to my yearly request for a puppy or kitty.

During high school or college, I recall thinking to myself that when the time came, I would love to pay it forward by writing Santa letters myself. I had finished college, gotten married and was preparing for my first Christmas as an adult. I let my friends with small children know that I would be penning letters as Santa Claus, and I would love to have their children send me their letters.

The first year, I received one letter from Drew, a friend’s son. He included a hand drawn pirate ship with his letter to Santa. I was so excited for that one letter. I’m sure it made me happier to write the return letter than he was to receive it. Last year I wrote nearly forty letters; each one personalized with no two being the same. Each letter is carefully and joyfully written after my kids are tucked into their beds. Now that they can read, I have to be a bit sneakier. My husband is tasked with proofreading each letter and he finishes each letter with the official Santa signature.

Here I am, some nine or ten years later, ready to begin writing this year’s letters. The first letter is sitting beside me, just waiting to be opened. I love to read what the kids write. So many of them are interested in what the elves and reindeer like to eat. I find that most of them do not ask for a lot but are more interested in Santa and his gang at the North Pole.

The magic of Christmas is not lost on me. I still enjoy it just as much I did when I was child.

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