Santa recruits Fresno elves to help him answer letters

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- With Christmas fast approaching you can find magic oozing out of the Valley.

The infectious spirit of the holidays took over the postal office that now looks a lot more like the North Pole.

In addition to helping customers beat holiday shipping deadlines Santa's elves sort and answer his mail.

"We collect them, it goes to the post office, it's dropped in the blue cans, addressed to the North Pole, and then to the local office that we have here," said Rodney Romero, Acting Fresno Post Master.

For more than 100 years the US Postal Service has helped Santa deliver dreams during the holiday season. It's called Operation Santa-- where workers make sure letters addressed to Santa Claus in the North Pole get answered.

In Fresno, some of his helpers even take letters home to ensure a response.

"It's really about the children and caring about the community by responding, and we take pride in assisting Santa's workshop," said Romero.

Letters to Santa start coming in as early as November. His helpers here answer anywhere from one to 400 per day.

"You get the kids that care-- that's the fun part," said Lesley Lee, Administrative Clerk.

Lee has worked with the post office for 30 years and has made this a part of her holiday tradition. She shared some of her favorite requests.

"A pony, they'd ask for a dog, my dad says I can't take care of a dog so can I have one anyway. I mean it just goes on," said Lee. "One of them wanted a pig but her mom said no, but can I have one, can you bring it instead?"

One letter, sent almost two decades ago, still moves Lee.

"His mom had cancer and they just moved from another state and he wasn't-- they weren't going to be able to buy presents for the younger ones, and he wanted to make sure they had something."

Each letter is hand written, signed by Santa and the Mrs. and addressed to the sender.

In order to stay sensitive to people's beliefs, letters are pre-drafted and do not promise any gifts.
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