Ocean City Today

Send letters to Santa at North Pole

Place inside 100-year-old antique mailbox at Ocean City post office on 71st St.
By Kara Hallissey | Dec 07, 2017
Pam Hammond, a clerk at the Ocean City post office who writes letters to children as Santa every year, is joined by Postmaster Dan Woods, on Monday for a picture next to the 100-year-old antique mailbox at the 71st Street location.

(Dec. 8, 2017) Parents can keep the Christmas magic alive this holiday season by bringing their children to the Ocean City post office on 71st Street, where they can place their wish lists for Santa in the antique mailbox. Letters with return addresses will receive a special reply from the North Pole.

Pam Hammond, a longtime clerk at the post office, has been working there for 28 years and this marks her sixth Christmas season responding to letters as Santa Claus.

“Getting mail in general is a big deal to kids, but to get a letter from Santa, it opens their eyes a little,” Hammond said. “There are so many things kids would love to have and its keeping that wish going. The possibility of receiving something is very special to a child and brings up good memories for parents, going back to their roots and the good old days. It keeps you in touch.”

The United States Postal Service trains employees on how to write a letter properly and has been participating for a number of years because children have always sent their wish lists through the mail.

Hammond has six grandchildren under 9 years old and Christmas is her favorite holiday, which helps with her creative responses and adds holiday spirit to the letters.

“Letter writing is so personal,” Hammond said. “Some kids draw pictures, others are very cute and hilarious. It’s always fun.”

With Christmas about two weeks away, approximately 20 letters have been deposited in the 100-year-old antique mailbox, but half have no return addresses, Hammond said. She responded to at least 30 letters in 2016 and has kept every letter sent the last six years.

Children have been asking for Legos, iPhones, skateboards and dolls. The key to Santa responses is to make the letter generic and include points from their letter.

Hammond has received at least a dozen repeat children the past couple years and always keeps previous letters they write in order to mention what they wrote about or asked for last year.

In addition, figuring out the ages of children is important and Hammond credits being a grandma for helping her.

If a child drew a picture or their handwriting improves, Hammond will reference these points. Her letters are written on special paper and Santa signs in a red marker. Also, the reply letters are given the same holiday rubber stamp on the back of each envelope, which Hammond received from a child a few years ago.

The Dunes Manor Hotel on 28th Street has been providing children with special paper and collecting Santa wish lists for the post office again this year.

Letters should be placed in the special mailbox at the 71st Street post office. Letters for Santa dropped in the blue mailboxes around town may not make it to the post office in Ocean City and must have a return address for a response. The 100-year-old antique mailbox was once on the street and is now decoratively painted for North Pole-bound requests.

“This Saturday night, my 5- and 4-year-old grandchildren are spending the night together and baking cookies while they make their lists for Santa, watch “Polar Express” in their pajamas and drink hot chocolate,” Hammond said. “I will bring their letters into work, answer them and mail them back.

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