Some children in the area will receive letters in the mail Monday from Father Christmas himself.
They’ll be responses to letters the children dropped off in a special mailbox at the Zebulon Community Center for the parks and recreation department’s annual “Letters to Santa,” which ran Nov. 28 through Dec. 16.
This marks the second year the department has used the mail approach to help kids connect with Santa Claus. It’s a deviation from “Calls From Santa,” which in past years had parents fill out forms providing inside information on their children, who would later receive phone calls from parks staff and volunteers posing as Santa’s helpers.
“It’s the excitement of seeing the kids get out and drop their letters in that box, the innocence that they still have, and then the surprise of what some of the kids ask for,” said Tim Hale, the community center coordinator.
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Members of the Zebulon Youth Council will reply to the letters on Santa’s behalf during their Christmas party over the weekend. They use stamps marking the North Pole as the return address, to add a touch of authenticity.
“I’ll give them credit,” Hale said of the youth council members. “They are in depth. They go into it and spend some time. They don’t just have a generic thing that they fill out. They look at them, and then mold the (response) letters individually and then we mail all of those back.”
In all versions of the special holiday service for children, Hale said the objective has been to avoid backing parents into a corner.
“A typical response would be, ‘We see you’ve asked for such and such and we’ll check the warehouse and see if we have it – if we don’t, we’ll make sure to get you something nice in its place,’” he said.
Some of the letters turned in by Wednesday included lengthy Christmas wish lists. Some children decided showing Santa what they want was better than telling him, so they taped catalog clippings to a sheet of paper and sent it his way.
Some children kept their family members in mind as they pleaded for generosity from the man in the red suit. Others didn’t ask Santa for a single thing – they only wanted to let him know he is a hard worker, clearly the best at making toys, and to thank him for coming each year.
“Ninety percent of them are the typical, what you would think – ‘I’d like a bicycle or I’d like a doll’ – or something,” Hale said. “But man, you get those ones that say, ‘I would like such and such, but don’t worry about that, because mom needs a new washing machine and dad needs a new pair of work boots, so bring that for them.’”
Here are some of the full, unedited letters turned in by area children:
Amirah Bayyari, Zebulon: “Dear Santa. I have been as good as I can be and I hope you can bring me a) A fancy dress that has sparkles. Jewelry, Phon, my life doll clothes, Books, movie. thank you.”
Essence Young, Wendell: “Dear, santa, my name is Essence and feel like I have been good. I am 11 years old and will be so happy to get up on christmas and get a phone.”
Ashley Cecilia Perez Ascencio, Zebulon: “Dear Santa Clause, My name is Ashley Cecilia Perez Ascencio and I’m 10 years old. I am in 3rd grade. I have a baby brother and his name is Johny David. I have a lot of cousins. I am writing this letter to ask if I can have a small medium cute puppy, a Shopkin Shoppie Gemma Stone, Shopkins, a pair of boots, some clothes, a toy for my baby brother, and baby clothes, a shirt for my dad and a pair of pants, for my mom a shirt and a pair of leggings.”
Briella Bowles, Zebulon: “Dear Santa, here are a few Things I want for christmas Ice skates, roller skates, a go cart, a new charger, a sewing machine, and a kit, a riding hover craft, my on hat that is good sise, stuff or my life doll, an Invention kit. Thank you.”
Solomon Thorpe, Zebulon: “Dear Santa, I’ve been a good boy, but I’ve been a bad boy a few times. I would like an army suit, a space station and real camouflage. And a candy cane.”
Peyton Robertson, Zebulon: “Dear Santa, For christmas I want a IPhone 5s or a IPhone 5c. I would also like a black hoverboard. I also want a iPhone lifeproof case. I would like for you to send me a boy Elf football jersey and and a girl elf cheerleading costume. I would like those for my two elves Chipie and Olivia.”