Letters to Santa reveal Christmas as seen through eyes of children
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent December 23, 2012 5:04PM
Head window clerk Debbie Bianchi is photographed with children's letters to Santa at the Hobart Post Office in downtown Hobart, Ind. Wednesday December 19, 2012. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
All I want for Christmas
According to Santa’s postal helpers, many kids asked for these items this year:
Justin Bieber concert tickets
Other Justin Bieber items
The latest Mario Brothers game
Xbox and games
Lalaloopsy dolls and items
Updated: December 23, 2012 7:59PM
Santa indeed answers letters, and two local helpers have made sure of that for years.
In Hobart, Debbie Bianchi finished her last stint as helper (off-and-on for about 20 years) before her January retirement, and in Portage, Vickie Cash continued helping for her eighth year.
“There’s something about Christmas and seeing it through the children’s eyes, and part of that is the letters they write to Santa,” Bianchi said.
Many children were concerned about their behavior this year.
One girl suggested presents for “Becca” but not herself because she was so bad.
The letter finished, “If you want me to be happy, DON’T give ME ANY PRESENTS! p.s. Santa please do this for my own good.”
Bianchi replied that the girl was on the good list for discovering the true meaning of Christmas by wanting Becca to get gifts.
Another child wrote, “My behavior hasn’t been so pleasant this year.” However, “My behavior should change by Christmas Day,” he wrote.
According to another, “I am sad to be on the naughty list. Can you please take me off if I am super-good until Christmas? I know you can see me so I promise to be a good little girl!!!”
Some letters are difficult to understand, such as one Bianchi had that stated, “deAr - SAntA I WAnta noew-whip.”
Cash received one that was simply “Sanata BLAde BLAde” and another that stated only “microrjrjr.”
Another made sense but was obscure: “All I want for Christmas is 2 pairs of footy pj’s, and a silver bell from your sleigh and Menna if you can make her.”
Letter writers that included their addresses got a reply, a candy cane and, through Hobart, a Santa drawing to color.
A letter sent last year reached Hobart in March, apparently based on the return address ZIP code, and it was answered this year with an explanation.
Cash and Bianchi said the number of letters has decreased since two years ago.
Kellye Harris, who works in both post offices, saw a similar decline when she worked in Chicago and believes it’s online influence.
The letters can have their dark sides, but Cash said, “this year was a good year.”
She received one letter that included “p.s. please help our papa feel better from his cancer -mom-,” apparently written by Mom and signed by the child.
Bianchi said Hobart service organizations sometimes help out with apparent needy families, and one year Hobart volunteers delivered a sack of diapers, toys and formula to a woman who was waiting on a child support check.
One year Cash received a letter from a woman worried about her daughter and grandkids; the family received a care basket from Portage volunteers.
Bianchi said she’ll miss the letters and the post office, where her father, Emden Rippe, was once postmaster.
“I’ve been coming here since I was a baby,” she said.