American kids know what’s going on in their families even if the government doesn’t. That’s why so many letters to Santa this year include pleas like “a job for daddy” or “a new winter coat for mommy.” Here we thought stories like this disappeared after the Great Depression, but it looks like the people in charge have brought those days back again.
Santa Claus and his elves are seeing more heartbreaking letters this year as children cite their parents’ economic troubles in their wish lists.
U.S. Postal Service workers who handle letters addressed to Santa at the North Pole say more letters ask for basics — coats, socks and shoes — rather than Barbie dolls, video games and computers.
At New York City’s main post office, Head Elf Pete Fontana and 22 staff elves will sort 2 million letters in Operation Santa, which connects needy children with “Secret Santas” who answer their wishes.
Fontana, a customer relations coordinator for the Postal Service, has been head elf for 15 years.
“The need is greater this year than I’ve ever seen it,” he says. “One little girl didn’t want anything for herself. She wanted a winter coat for her mother.”