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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Postmaster’s Lesson: Return to Sender, From Santa

Jeremy Donelan. Courtesy of Jeremy Donelan

Jeremy Donelan, the Postmaster in California, Kentucky, keeps the spirit of Christmas alive in his office.  He knows that Santa needs a little help so he offers a helping hand when he can. To be more specific, he lends his letter writing skills.

Jeremy began writing letters when he became the postmaster. This is his third year in the position and he is looking forward to another busy season answering letters to Santa.

Jeremy says, Two years ago we got some Santa letters. I asked one of our senior members about them. She said that there used to be a place in downtown where you could send them for responses. But I don’t know if they do much of that anymore. Anyway, we would put the letters in an envelope and send them downtown and maybe they would get to them. They were never sure if the children got a response. 

This person also said that we use to have these little red postcards that we would send. It was a nice little form letter saying ‘Dear (Child’s Name), Thank you for the letter, blah, blah, blah. Santa’s working really hard.’ You know, that whole spiel.  So I found these little postcards and they were faded and pretty gross. I thought that we needed something better than that.  No matter the sentiment, he thought it would be awful to send a faded and impersonal post card to a child.

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So I typed the letter (that was on the postcard) on the computer and I decorated it with a little Santa head and some candy cane images. And then I added a paragraph that says ‘You asked for…’ And I list everything on their letter to Santa. And I don’t promise any of it. So they get this letter back. To me, telling them what they asked for shows that I read the letter.  

You see, the thing is, downtown is such a big office that they are overburdened with just getting the mail out. And my office is smaller and not as busy. I have some time. I’ll let them pile up and I’ll knock them out in an afternoon or during my lunch. I sign it in a black Sharpie and print it on red paper. It looks like Christmas. My employees think it’s neat that I do it. And some other offices have requested my letter so they can do it too.  So now Santa Jeremy’s good cheer is spreading to his colleagues.

A copy of Santa's letter. Courtesy Jeremy Donelan. 

I wondered if he gets many responses back from parents. Yeah, I get phone calls and some letters. I have one letter at my office from a parent, a handwritten letter, hanging on the wall and it is awesome. I teared up when I read it. And so did all of the ladies in the office. It basically said, 'You don’t know what you have done for my child. The fact that I have 8 year old on the border of not believing anymore and the fact that you did this letter for us and took the time out of your day to do this you gave me one more year of having a kid who believes. You have no idea what you did.’ It was pretty awesome. 

Jeremy keeps all of the letters that the children write. And he pairs all of his responses with their letters so a parent can stop in and pick up both. They are all in his file - just like Santa.

It only takes a few minutes to do but it means a lot them. It’s gratifying to me but at the same time that customer will never forget that. Some offices are pretty busy and may not have time. But to me, to take those five minutes, is easy. It doesn’t cost me much. That is spoken like the father of four that he is.

So did Jeremy ever write a letter to Santa? Don’t know if I ever wrote one. I was the youngest of six so they (brothers and sister) ruined it all for me at a young age. But Jeremy Donelan makes sure that the magic is there for other children. The little things add up to a big thing.

 If there is one thing to remember during this hectic season, it is this - being kind doesn’t take much time.

Jeremy, his wife Katherine, and their children.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful thing to do for the children. Thank you Jeremy Donelan. God bless you.