Chances are, if you’ve ever dropped a letter to Santa in a mailbox—whether it was stamped or not, or addressed with “North Pole” or not—it ended up at a post office in one small town in southern Indiana.
Why Indiana? It’s because that town is called, for reasons too complex to relay logically here, “Santa Claus” and the U.S. Postal Service, cleverly and with no better alternative, began delivering them all there. Great canvas sacks of them. Literally, tens of thousands of envelopes filled with Christmas wishes and petitions of unnaughtiness that arrive by the truckload each December.
Since 1914, the townspeople have taken it upon themselves to answer every child’s letter they receive. And for a town which, even today, only has 2,500 residents, it’s a serious endeavor. “Santa’s Elves” is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to tackling it, and as Elf Pat Koch explains in the most kid-friendly way possible, “Santa Claus has to get all of those toys ready. He has so much to do. So, he needs people to help.” Hence, Santa’s Elves.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of that help—and this year, things are different. Working with OneNote, the Elves have gone digital.
First, they’re collecting every wish from this year’s letters into one giant list for Santa—because OneNote is great for creating and managing lists. The Elves are also using Office Lens to snap photos of the letters for a OneNote notebook on OneDrive to organize and protect them. Emily Thompson, director of the town’s Santa Claus Museum explains, “The ability to preserve these letters digitally means we won’t have to worry about them getting misplaced, or damaged by water, fire or time.”
Santa’s Elves’ notebook is bound to be a treat. Hundreds of memorable letters arrive every year; funny, touching, poignant, amazing. The elves always save some of the best letters to archive.
Go ahead. Write to Santa. The most direct way to get a reply from Santa’s Elves it to send yours (and your return address) to P.O. Box 1, Santa Claus, Indiana 47579. Perhaps you’ll be part of Santa’s first all-digital wish list. Check back December 12th for a video showcasing the Elves’ work. And be sure to keep an eye out for the full list on December 19th. You just might find the perfect last-minute gift idea on it.
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