By Christine Bryant
Next time you drive by Reynoldsburg City Hall, you might catch a glimpse of Santa checking his mailbox.
The city’s Parks and Recreation Department has helped Santa answer letters since 1993 by placing a mailbox on the front steps of city hall. Children may drop off their letters now through Dec. 16, and will receive a response from Santa before Christmas.
The elves, who also work in the parks office, help Santa answer the letters. On average, they write about 150 notes each year back to local children.
“When we return to work on the 28th, if someone has left a letter, we will send a different letter asking if they had a wonderful Christmas,” said Donna Bauman, director with the City of Reynoldsburg’s Parks and Recreation Department.
In addition to dropping off letters at City Hall, 7232 E. Main St., children also may mail their letters to the same address.
Though children have asked for many different items through the years, Bauman said Santa’s letters in return do not promise any gifts.
“The elves really look forward to checking Santa’s house for letters,” she said. “They are a little disappointed when no one has left a letter.”
When reading the letters, the elves say they smile – noting that the spirit of Christmas is alive and children believe in Santa, she said.
“The excitement that the children show when dropping their letters into the Santa house warms the heart,” Bauman said. “The elves’ favorite letters are from children just learning how to spell and write.”
She said staff can tell the children put a lot of effort into making the letters just right.
“If you take the time, you can figure out what they are asking for,” Bauman said. “The elves enjoy receiving pictures that the children draw and color.”
Santa’s elves at the Parks and Recreation Department work off of about 20 different letter styles – a benefit when classroom teachers drop off 15 to 20 student letters.
“We like to make sure that they do not receive the same letters,” she said. “Likewise, we make sure that siblings receive different letters.”
For more information, go to ci.reynoldsburg.oh.us.