STOW: The United States Postal Service is celebrating its 100th year of making children’s holiday wishes come true through its Letters to Santa program.
The popular holiday program is known nationwide, and once again, city of Stow employees, members of the public, charitable organizations and corporations aided the USPS with responses to letters from children to Santa.
This marked the third year Stow made the Letters to Santa program part of its holiday tradition. The Parks and Recreation Department sought the help of very special “senior elves” from their local senior center to serve as Santa’s special messengers.
“I wanted something that was intergenerational, something that would be a community program where kids would always remember going to City Hall and dropping their letter off,” Kathy McConnell, of the Parks and Recreation Department, said in a recent interview.
McConnell said that there has been a consistent group of six senior elves who have participated in the program since it began.
“This is something that they really enjoy and that they look forward to,” McConnell said.
Senior elves take great pride in their position, she said, and have bragged about it to their friends.
This year, the senior elves reviewed and relayed more than 200 messages from the children of Stow to Santa at the North Pole.
Many of the letters consisted of lists of toys, but there were a few that really stood out to the elves for other reasons.
When one of the senior elves came across a unique letter, the whole group would stop and listen, McConnell said.
Santa received a special wish from a boy named Palmer, who said that this year there was something he wanted more than anything: a little brother named Toby.
Apparently, Palmer has a friend named Sierra and she has a little brother.
Palmer specifically requested that Toby be the same age as Sierra’s brother, and he also wants him to look and act just like him.
“I have never done this much for anything,” Palmer said in his letter.
The boy went to great lengths in hopes that his Christmas wish would come true. He has cleaned out part of his room and prepared it so he could share it with his new brother.
“I am going to buy diapers and baby wipes, so please get him or it will be a waste of good money and my allowance money,” Palmer wrote.
He included a postscript that read, “Please put Toby in a box with holes and include clothes.”
In another memorable request to Santa, Ethan and Seth asked if they could help him deliver toys this year, but there is a catch: They would have to be home by midnight.
Tommy wrote that he would like Santa to thank the elves for all the hard work they do.
Allison asked if “rood off” is fun in her letter.
Lyla said she would just like “a bouncy puppy.”
There were even letters from children who were celebrating their first Christmas.
Edward, 5 months old, wrote — with the help of his mother —that he was born July 2 and that his mother, uncle and grandparents are all from Stow.
“I have lots of love and all that a little boy could need,” Edward wrote. “I love all the pretty Christmas lights and the music, too. Maybe you could jingle your sleigh bells for me. My mommy will have cookies for you and apples for the reindeer.”
In her letter, a girl named Kristen confessed that her friends told her Santa wasn’t real. She wrote, however, that, “I know you live here, somewhere.”
Mayor Sara Drew said she was happy the city and the senior elves could help to sustain children’s belief in Christmas and Santa.
“There is so much time in all our lives that we have to deal in what are often difficult realities, so helping a child believe in the magical, fun and exciting parts of Christmas is really a treasure. I hope everyone in our community is able to find a part of Christmas that brings some of that magic into their lives,” Drew said.
Heather Beyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.