My daughter has been writing letters to Santa since she was two years old. I’ve documented the sweet tradition on this site with parental pride and a touch of sadness knowing that her childhood belief in an oversized gift-bearing elf would not last forever.
Little did I know that my daughter’s annual holiday letter writing tradition would come to a screeching halt before she learned the truth about Kris Kringle. Thanks to a pervert in Maryland, my sweet, innocent, Santa-loving five-year-old may not get a reply from Mr. Claus this year.
The pervert responsible for ruining this joyous tradition is a registered sex offender. Last year a postal worker in Maryland caught the criminal trying to volunteer for the agency’s Operation Santa letter-writing program. The perv was quickly weeded out before he could reply to any of the kids’ letters. Still, the incident was serious enough for the Postal Service to impose strict restrictions on volunteers and tighten security.
As a result of the Maryland episode, the Postal Service has barred volunteers from having access to children’s last names and addresses. Postal employees now delete children’s personal information from each letter and replace the addresses with codes that match computerized addresses known only to the post office.
But, here’s the kicker to these new security measures: According to the Postal Service, it’s up to local post office managers to determine whether to go through the time-consuming effort or eliminate the program all together.
Well, guess what our local postal manager decided to do this year?
Yup, he axed the entire Santa letter program.
So, that cute and colorful cardboard gingerbread house slash Letters to Santa drop-off structure that typically decorates our local post office’s lobby each year, will not be making its debut this week.
I should note that the Postal Service’s new restrictions don’t affect privately run letter efforts. I know this because I spent more than an hour yesterday trying to track down alternatives to the government run Santa letter service.
Fortunately, a group of volunteers in North Pole, Alaska, will be operating their own letter-writing campaign. They’ve been given a special address for the purpose: 1 Santa Claus Lane, North Pole, AK 99705.
There are also a few high-tech options, including websites where you can email Santa or receive a phone call from the big guy.
But my daughter is a purist. She doesn’t want an electronic communication from Santa. She wants a real letter, written on real paper that she can wave excitedly in the air upon receipt. She wants something tangible to hang on her bedroom wall, show off to friends and family, and kiss before she goes to sleep at night. She wants a letter detailing what the elves are making, what Rudolph did this summer and what special cookies Mrs. Claus is whipping up this year.
My daughter wants a letter from Santa like she’s gotten every year since she was two.
And thanks to some oversexed loser in Maryland, it’s likely that she won’t get her Christmas wish.