Kids across the country in their letters to Santa are requesting toys, clothes, Legos and video games.
But according to a review of letters addressed to the North Pole and collected through the Post Office’s Operation Santa program — it has been revealed just how intensely the pandemic is affecting children. Some are pleading for Santa to make coronavirus go away.
“This year, I would like end of Covid-19, world peace, climate control, new Xbox,” one letter reads.
While others talk about the challenges of going to school online or how their parents can’t afford to buy presents this year as they lost their jobs.
“Dear Santa,” Jonah wrote. “I don’t want anything for Christmas, but I would like to ask you if you can do me a favor: Can you please find a cure for Covid-19 and give it to us to save the world. Thank you.”
Over 100 years ago, the Postal Service began receiving letters to Santa Clause — titled Operation Santa. It all started in 1912 when Frank Hitchcock, the postmaster general at the time, allowed postal workers to open and respond to letters addressed to the North Pole.
Post offices would work with volunteers who agreed to “adopt” letters from needy children and sent them items on their wish lists on behalf of Santa himself.
According to child psychologist Avital Cohen, founder of Peachtree Pediatric Psychology in Atlanta, children open up to a figure like Santa as he is seen as a helpful, trustworthy person who spreads joy.
“What I read in these letters is that kids really are thinking about the needs of their parent or the world and not just their own desires this year (though of course some kids are asking for the gifts they want this year, which is to be expected!),” Cohen said in an email to CNN.
“Mr. Rogers is known for saying look for the helpers in scary situations — this is our chance to be the helpers and have our kids be the helpers, even in small ways.”
Children and adults in the US have sent over 10,000 notes and cards to Santa since October — many of them revealing the year’s ups and downs, said Kimberley Frum, who is a spokesperson for the USPS.
“2020 has seen its share of challenges affecting individuals and families in so many ways. Covid-19 resulted in job losses, temporary unemployment and sadly, the loss of family and friends,” Frum said in an email to CNN.
“The program has always been about providing holiday gifts for families who may not have the means to provide for anything more than basic everyday needs. This year, there are likely more families impacted financially and emotionally.”
While most of the letters to Santa have already been adopted by donors, postal workers will continue to upload new letters through December 15.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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