Rochester, N.Y.—Each year, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the United States Post Office on Jefferson Road handles about four million letters and cards.
During this time, postal workers keep a special eye out for letters to Santa. Every year there about 1,500 they get at their facilities.
These letters get placed into a special box labeled “Letters to Santa” and then postal workers, who also freelance as Santa’s elves go through them and answer those return addresses.
“We help Santa,” says Lori Menz, a USPS worker. “He's busy this time of year and we have a ton of letters coming in. We work as Santa's elves so that the letters get sorted and get to Santa in time for Christmas.”
Menz says most of the letters are a list of gifts the child wants for Christmas. But every now and then, she see’s a letter that surprises her. Menz read one letter out loud.
“It says ‘Dear Santa, for Christmas I would like to get One Direction dolls, board games, tickets, iPod and world peace. You don't have to give me this. Give it to the poor children.’”
Some children decided to be very specific—leaving no room for interpretation. They send Santa toy ads with a circle around the toys they want.
But others want the simplest of gifts.
“Dear Santa, for Christmas this year, I just really want you to clean the basement because I have no where to play.”
The elves say that they come back to read the letters every year.
“We get so busy during the holiday season and we forget what Christmas is all about,” says Sharon Reynolds. “When I read these letters I smile. It makes my heart happy. It makes me joyful to look at these letters.”
And even though it’s the children asking for gifts, the elves, too, get something in return.
“Honestly, some of us start not believing and when we read these letters we believe again,” says Reynolds. “It brings it all back.”