Word of a century-old Christmas tradition inadvertently launched a viral marketing phenomenon this month, affecting the tiny town of Santa Claus, Indiana, and prompting the immediate call for more elves.
“Children have sent letters to our town for more than a century, ” says Patricia Koch, of Santa’s Elves, Inc. a non-profit organization formed in 1974 to ensure that the letters are answered and postage costs are provided each year. “This fall, word has spread on the Internet and we’re quickly realizing we need many more Elves to help Santa answer all these letters.”
Santa’s Elves usually receive about 2, 000 letters by Thanksgiving week. The influx of letters in December normally brings the total number of Santa Letters mailed at the town’s famous post office to approximately 10, 000. This year, however, the Elves are bracing for a 700-percent increase in letters, if today’s total of well over 15, 000 letters to Santa is any indication.
“Short and simple, we need more Elves, ” says Koch. “We need dozens of kind-hearted volunteers with legible handwriting and a belief in Santa, ” to help respond to the letters. The Elves simply read the children’s letters and then, on behalf of Santa, add the child’s name plus a personal “P.S.” to the colorful letters which Santa has already written by hand.
“If you have trouble getting into the Christmas spirit, this is the cure, ” says Koch. “The children’s letters are often funny, occasionally greedy, and all-too-often heartbreaking. This is a simple, sweet way to help a child believe in the magic of Santa and the spirit of giving.”
Those interested in volunteering to be Santa’s Elves are asked to call the Santa Claus Museum at 812-937-2687 or email email@example.com for more information. The Museum is open Mondays through Saturdays from 8 am to 5 pm CST. Evening and Sunday hours may be arranged as well. The letters, envelopes, red pens, and stamps are all provided at the Museum, along with the good cheer of fellow Elves. As is the tradition, there is no charge for the letters.
Children wishing to write to Santa should address their letters to: Santa Claus, PO Box 1, Santa Claus, IN 47579. Letters may also be requested via the Santa Claus Museum website: SantaClausMuseum.org. Koch urges parents to check that a legible return address is included. Donations to help pay postage costs may be sent to the same address.