It’s the holidays. A time of year to give and to reflect on what we have. My heart is always a bit fuller and softer this time of year. One of the most touching annual traditions I participate in is Santa’s Letters, a USPS program where you can read (and adopt) letters written to Santa by children and struggling families whose Christmas wishes wouldn’t otherwise come true. The letters range from needs as humble as a new pair of school shoes to the latest, greatest gaming console. Reading through them puts things in perspective. Some of us have little. Very little. It’s always emotionally stirring for me because I’ve been there…I know the feeling of having nothing. I’ve also experienced being at your lowest, and then having the smallest bit of unexpected generosity and Christmas spirit bring a great deal of happiness and hope.

I’ll never forget Christmas 2008. It was the year of my divorce. The real estate market had crashed and my savings had gone out the window. I woke up on Christmas morning that year cold and alone with my two dogs. “How could this even happen?” I asked myself, feeling hurt, extreme sadness and anger all at once. In that moment, I felt truly alone. So I just sat there and cried, feeling sorry for myself until…there was a knock on my door. My neighbor friend had come to wish me a Merry Christmas and to check on me. Even though he’s Jewish and doesn’t even celebrate Christmas, he knew things were tough and wanted to make sure I was ok.

This small gesture of kindness was enough to quickly remind me I still had many things to be grateful for. Despite life’s recent blows having left me with little, I could count my lucky stars for a few good friends and a whole lot of family. That evening, my friend and I drove up to my family’s house where we celebrated Christmas together and had a great time.

I’ll never forget the deep emotions of that Christmas…waking up in that cold condo, no food in the fridge, and all alone. It makes me feel an enormous sense of compassion for those children and families who have nothingand no one to go to. It makes me want to help as many kids and families as I can. Not just during the holidays, but all year round. But, hey, the holidays are a great place to start!

It didn’t take long for things to get better for me so I swore to try and at least make one family’s holidays better – if not ten! I started doing Santa’s Letters and holiday food drives. I strongly encourage those of you who are able to help a family in need this holiday season to do so. Santa’s Letters, like the tear jerker below, are waiting to be adopted at the 433 W. Harrison St. Post Office. Program Coordinator, Janice Hall says every year, the number of letters grow. This year, they have 6,000 to fill so please hurry and be that unexpected gesture of kindness to a child or family who needs it most. The deadline to adopt a letter is December 21st.

With all my warmest wishes to you and yours this holiday season,


Dear Santa,

I am write you to ask you to help my mom who is a single mother of 5 children and is having money problem this year. She’s been out of work for quit some time due to her car accident. She is not asking for you to help her with much and she only need help with my brother and I. My brother is turning two and I’m ten.

I would like to have a new pair of shoes for school and a Nintendo DS and my brother will just settle for some clothes and toys.

Thank you Santa.

P.S. Can you give my mom a turkey for Christmas?

Elena Scheiner