Children all over the world have sent their Christmas letters to Santa, telling him what’s on their wish list and whether they’ve been naughty or nice this year.
But there are some requests that even Santa needs help with.
They come from children who might not have asked for much at all.
Like the 13-year-old boy in the United States, who this year asked only for covers for his bed, “so I can stay warm this winter”.
And the 12-year-old who doesn’t want anything for himself, just something for his single mother because she works so hard.
The US Post Office has some extra special elves to help with these kinds of requests.
As part of its Letters to Santa programme, now in its 100th year, charitable groups, businesses, schools and individual volunteers can go to post offices to pick letters and then go shopping on Santa’s behalf.
Postal workers say this year’s letters have had more requests for necessities, including from adults wanting help to buy things for their children.
In Chicago alone around 2,500 letters will be answered by Santa’s helpers.
The Toji Trading Group has been part of the programme for three years. Employee Kelley Fernandez told Reuters reading the letters can be very emotional.
“You're reading letters from six-year-old, eight-year-old kids who aren't asking for video games,” she says.
“They're asking for winter coats and food on the table, which is not something you'd think of kids writing to Santa for.”
New Zealand Post says it has no plans to introduce a similar system. It says getting involved in charity would be outside the spirit of its Santa letter programme.
“For New Zealand, we believe the appropriate level is not to get directly involved with the families… beyond assisting Santa to write back to these kids,” says spokesman Michael Tull.
He says letters of a more serious nature are rare.
“Most kids are quite pragmatic, and they’re writing to Santa to let him know what they want for Christmas.”
However, he says Santa is continuing to receive some letters from children displaced by the Christchurch earthquakes who want to be back in their permanent homes.
More than 100,000 kiwi kids have written to Santa this year, all of whom should receive a reply from him before Christmas.
What New Zealand kids have written to Santa:
- Dear Santa I am a good boy. I always am. It’s not true what you hear.
- I am sorry about being a little bit naughty for the last few years, this year I have been a very very very very very good boy. Apart from when i wasn’t.
- This year can I swap one of my annoying sisters for a really cool toy?
- dear santa please can i have bending powers and be Hulk when im mad, except at my family.
- I would please like a new goldfish because my last one ran away.