by Ronda Payne/Special to the Langley Advance
Santa is one busy guy. How can he manage all the toy-making, list-checking, preparations for Christmas Eve, and keep on top of his correspondence with boys and girls?
It’s magic, with a little help from Canada Post.
Don Campbell is the street name used by the head elf in charge of correspondence when working at the main Langley post office.
Elf Campbell has been running the Santa letter program locally for more than five years and enjoys the excitement the post office delivers to kids each year.
“I do it because of the enjoyment in doing it and reading the letters. The young kids’ imaginations just go wild, and we, as elves, all worked together before… So it’s our time of the year when we get together as well,” the head elf explained.
“It’s basically to bring joy to the kids… the excitement of getting a letter to their home.”
It’s not just any letter. It’s a letter from Santa.
Last year alone, the local elf team processed 15,000 letters from the big man in the red suit.
Altogether, Canada Post, with Canada-wide elf teams, processes 1.6 million letter each season. They aren’t all from Canadian kids either. Any letter sent to the official address for Santa is processed in Canada.
“If [a letter] gets into the Canadian Post office [it] will be sent across Canada. We are basically getting our foreign [letters] from Taiwan,” Elf Campbell explained.
“We sent English teachers to Taiwan to teach the kids English and we get letters that say ‘Dear Santa, this is my first letter in English’, and that’s how we’re getting them.”
The head elf added that kids from Taiwan want two things, more than anything else in their letters: a Canadian maple leaf and a plane ticket to Canada.
“Santa has a supply of plastic leaves and we send them,” Campbell said, adding the plane ticket to Canada is not in Santa’s control since he doesn’t own airlines outside of his own sleigh and reindeer.
One new change, the head elf noted, was how letters from schools will be handled.
“This year when schools send class letters to us, all the [kids’] names go on a poster and will be sent back to the school, not to individual homes because of the privacy act,” noted Elf Campbell.
The poster is one large letter from Santa with each child’s name in a column down the side. If kids want a more personalized response, they can send a letter from home and receive their response from Santa there.
“We had 150 schools sending in letters last year,” the head elf elaborated, adding that teachers in the municipalities have received letters explaining the program.
While the elf correspondence team receives, sorts, and sends out letters and posters, it’s Santa who puts pen to paper for each and every one. It takes a lot of magic to ensure letters get from the post office to Santa and back again in a hurry.
The elves work five days a week starting Dec. 1, to make it all happen.
“We work right up until Christmas, and, then we work until a week after Christmas to send out after-Christmas postcards for the late ones,” he said.
Letters from kids anywhere in the Lower Mainland are processed by the Langley-based team of 10 elves.