Last Christmas, my oldest granddaughter, Ainsley, then 7, wrote to Santa. The results were more than any of us expected.
In deep concentration as she looked through a Christmas toy catalog, she said, "Daddy, I want lots of things for Christmas."
"So what else is new?" our son replied, barely turning his head from the football game.
"But I'm afraid Santa won't remember," she said with a hint of a pout and a gentle stamp of her foot. "Or he might get mixed up."
"Be careful," her father said, "Santa's elves are watching you."
Ainsley did a 360-degree sweep of the room searching for tattle-telling elves in green suits and hats.
"But to solve your problem," her father continued, "why don't you write Santa a letter?"
Immediately, Ainsley's pout morphed to a smile and she scurried to find paper and pencil. Using the toy catalog, she carefully scanned each page for items that her heart desired. The afternoon turned into evening as she lavished loving attention on her letter. By dinner time, the letter was ready to mail.
While the family settled to dinner, Ainsley rushed into the kitchen breathless, looking for an envelope. As her family ate, Ainsley addressed the envelope. Carefully she wrote 'Santa' and than asked, "How do you spell 'Claus?'" Under the meticulously printed Santa Claus, she wrote 'The North Pole.'
"Put your coat on," called her mom as Ainsley sped coatless out the door to the mailbox. Returning from the cold and finally seating herself at the table, she said, "Now all I have to do is wait."
She didn't have to wait long. Two days later, a letter addressed to her arrived. The upper left corner read 'Santa Claus, The North Pole.'"
Barely able to contain her excitement, Ainsley opened the envelope as her family gathered round in the hallway. On stationery bordered in Rudolph's, snowflakes and "Ho, Ho, Hos," Santa's answer was printed in manuscript for easy reading.
Ainsley's words tumbled from her mouth in excitement as she read:
Thank you for your lovely letter. There's lots of snow here at the North Pole. The elves and I are very busy! Rudolph has been busy shining up his nose and the reindeer are excited about flying through the sky. I will keep your list with me.
Remember, my elves are always watching. They are so tiny, they can hide in the funniest places.
Although Ainsley's parents were incredulous, Ainsley and her little sister, Kaylin, were not surprised. Their belief in Santa made all things possible. Ainsley had written a letter, and Santa, as was to be expected, had answered.
Clearly, Santa, working out of the Chattanooga, Tenn. branch of the North Pole, reached beyond his assigned duties to spread the spirit of Christmas and to give a little girl a special glimpse of old Saint Nick. Who says we don't need the U.S. Postal Service?
Wanda Lane lives in Sun City Hilton Head.