See that little button to the right that says “CLICK ME NOW”? Do it.
In case you missed it, I just explained the basics of Operation Santa in the post right before this one. If you haven’t read it yet, the contents of this blog may be a tad bit confusing, just sayin’. Shuffle back a step and fill yourself in first.
Armed with the address of the only post office in Los Angeles that participates in the program, I hopped in the whip and headed to South Central…you know, the part of the city that’s notorious for gang wars, the advent of both the Crips and the Bloods, and the movie “Friday”, “Next Friday”, and “Friday After Next” (they really pushed that franchise past its expiration date).
Yeah. That’s where you gotta go to participate in this program.
Is it any wonder that they can’t get the fru fru people from Beverly Hills to come participate?
I journeyed to this fabled land of street crime in broad daylight; however, it’s reputation did have me a little nervous since, for all intents and purposes, I’m from the suburbs. The violence has dropped dramatically, I should note (although, if I hadn’t noted it, I could’ve kept you on tenterhooks wondering if I witnessed a drive by or a street pharmacy transaction).
I walked into what must be a USPS distribution center to a small room filled with Christmas decorations:
Cute. Quaint. There were cookies.
I ate quite a few of them…which isn’t going to help with my half-marathon training. But I digress.
On each of the 4 tables, piles of letters addressed to Santa at the North Pole lay scattered. Some were obviously scrawled by small children, others were certainly written by teens and, yes, even adults. Apparently, there are a number of people who have heard about this program and wrote in with requests for their children and yes, even for themselves.
Unfortunately, a majority of the letters were written for the sole purpose of requesting laptops, iPads/iPods/iEverythings, gaming consoles, and other assorted electronics that cost more than my monthly wage.
Not gonna happen, at least not from me. It’s surely a sign of the times that small children are more concerned with those types of things than a doll, train set, or a nice Christmas sweater.
There was one letter that specifically asked for on iPad, a bed, and money to pay for his Aunt’s cancer treatments. Oh. WOW. And I actually was lucky enough to personally put that one into the hands of a wealthy businessman who pledged to fulfill as much of that list as he could.
For myself, I decided to search for letters that didn’t automatically jump into the $200+ category. I ended up with 8 letters serving 11 children in the LA area. Here are some of my favorites of my bunch (all spelling, punctuation mistakes, and grammatical errors are original. I’ll cut them some slack since they’re children.) :
1) From Angela, age 8: “Dear Santa Claus! My name is Angela, I’m 8yrs old. May you come to my house, please. I do not want anything, except to see you. Please. To: Santa From: Angela Please give it to Santa at the North Pole”
CUTE, right? This next one tugged at my heartstrings like 2 Christmas elves playing holiday tug-o-war:
2) From Litzy: “Dear Santa Claus, How is your Health how do you feel by going around the world and seeing different places. I want my life to change in shcool and in my house, And I also want to fix everything want I did wrong. And I hope you read my card. Love Litzy.”
MAN, if that isn’t a letter filled with emotional baggage, I don’t know what is. How does Santa get through all of these without having an emotional breakdown?
I also picked up a letter from a 22 year old mother of 2 sons under 6 years old that requested those pesky electronic items. At the end of her letter, she acknowledged that those were astronomical requests, and that she would just like Santa to bring something for them.
One letter, written in black crayon by a little one named “Robert” asked simply for toys, clothes, and shoes.
Another little one wrote a letter with 20 very specific items including a a Lego girl set, a puzzle, 1 fake flowr, a La La Loopsy Roller Coaster, and lip gloss. I knew I couldn’t fill every single wish she asked for, but I would sure try to get most of her list.
So, it was off to Target for me! And that’s where I’ll begin Episode 3.