Santa's Answering Service

Written by Brian Newman

Canada Post has a service which 'answers' letters to Santa.

After all, Santa lives at the North Pole. Territory within Canada. And our Canadian mail system works with a 'postal code', a series of letters and numbers that helps determine one's exact mailing address. To those who are unfamiliar with Santa's postal code at the North pole, it is H0H 0H0. Somehow fitting, don't you think?

Hush, don't tell anybody, but those letters are actually answered by Canada Post employees or their families. The real Santa seems too busy. The other night I helped out myself, and was very surprised by the variety of mail that Santa receives.

There were cards, there were letters. Some done by obviously childish hands, others with help from parents. Some had stickers and art work. The rare and occasional letter was simply a list of demanded toys. Most were very, very polite. Asking Santa about Mrs. Santa, the reindeer, the elves and even the weather conditions at the North Pole. Many wished Santa a safe flight. A sign, I wondered, of too much accident reporting on TV?

One letter contained a shiny new penny. At first, when this feel out of the envelope, I was outraged. Was someone trying to bribe Santa? It was however pointed out that perhaps a 'lucky penny' was a gift, and not a bribe. That gift, like all gifts, should be accepted with gratitude.

The list letter, simply of various gifts, was overshadowed by other letters filled with kindness. Some asked Santa to give gifts to others, who had less than they had. Several mentioned world peace, a rather large gift that even Santa might not be able to deliver. Some asked for gifts for a brother or sister. Thankfully, none asked for the gift of a brother or sister!

One little girl mentioned her previous letter to Santa. She reminded St. Nick that her past letter had been answered, and she quoted the reply: "if you do something hard and successful, finish it, next year next year, you will get what you want." Well, she had done some things that were very, very hard, and she had been successful. So it was time for Santa to live up to his side of the bargain! Her requests were not expensive, but she noted that she was asking Santa instead of her parents, because the items were sold out.

One can only hope that the parents had hunted high and low, and come up with what the girl wanted. Or could find items of such delight that her previous requests vanished like the stuff of dreams.
Answering that letter was difficult.

You wanted to praise the hard work, but not make any promises that could be quoted the next year! If ever I have seen a future lawyer, at age six, this was the case! Would Santa end up in shame and disgrace, charges of mail fraud, and racketeering, after failing to deliver? Would he be expelled from the North Pole after a legal judgement seizing his property?

Never have I felt the weight of the future on my shoulders, as when I started, with fear and trembling, to answer that letter from a six year old. Santa, where ever you are, can I just tell you that I did my best?