For 35 years, children in Canada and around the world have been writing Christmas letters to Santa at his special Canada Post address at the North Pole.
It’s a lot of mail to go through, and someone as busy as Santa needs elves specifically trained to help out with correspondence.
Bruce Mavis has been such a volunteer elf for more than two decades.
“When I first started 23 years ago, Vancouver was the only place in B.C. that did it,” he said. “It’s expanded throughout the province.”
In those early days, the central post office was in Vancouver and all of Santa’s mail was managed through that location.
Now, the Richmond office is the central location and instead of processing all of Santa’s letters there, other community post offices throughout the province (like Langley) take part in helping Santa make the most of his time.
Each regional elf team receives a daily bundle of letters from the central location.
Mavis believes Santa would not have enough time to make toys if he had to read, write and send letters to kids. Santa reads every single letter.
His elves read them too, in order to help Santa with his correspondence duties, but Santa replies. Mavis clarifies that the elves just help with processing the letters.
The Langley post office does their part by getting about 13,000 letters read, responded to, and mailed.
“Santa Claus is the only one who writes the letters,” Mavis noted.
“We take Santa’s answer, fold it, put it in an envelope and address it to the child.”
So long as children put their return address on their letter, they receive a response.
If their letter comes in past Dec. 14, they will likely not get a reply before Christmas.
“We started on the 30th of November and we’ll go until the end of the first week in January,” Mavis said of the elf team of eight he is part of.
Responses that go out after Christmas will actually be in the form of postcards because Santa is already on vacation.
Not all the elves who help Santa with his mail have been around as long as Mavis. Some are new and need the elf training. Just imagine the chaos if Santa didn’t have fully trained elves in all aspects of his operations. This is especially important with correspondence.
“We get training each and every year in Richmond,” he said. “Santa is there to train and re-train us.”
Santa can write letters in 30 different languages including braille. The Langley elves only work with English and French responses, but within that are often children learning English and their teachers encourage them to write to Santa.
“I enjoy reading letters from kids around the world,” said Mavis. “They come from all over the world. It’s an awesome program.”
Santa’s well-trained correspondence elves are already hard at work helping Old Saint Nick get back to kids from around the globe.
Santa and his elves are awaiting letters
Address them to:
North Pole, H0H OHO