By Yeh Chen and Matthew Mazzetta, CNA agents writers
If you address a letter to Santa in Taiwan, affairs are that you are autograph to Cathy, a Taiwanese art abecedary and mother of three who has accustomed and replied to bags of the Christmas greetings in contempo years through her activity “Taiwan Santa Claus.”
It all began absolutely simply, she says, with the abstraction of giving accouchement in Taiwan addition to address to, after accepting to participate in one of the “Write to Santa” programs abroad.
In the aboriginal year, she set up a Facebook fan folio and accustomed 500 letters. In the two years that followed — 1,000 and 1,500.
Now in her fourth year — acknowledgment to a addition from contempo media advantage — Cathy’s activity has exploded in scale, with over 25,000 belletrist accession through mid-December.
To accommodated the demand, Cathy and her accompany accept set up a branch aces of Father Christmas himself, area they absorb hours responding to every distinct letter with a hand-written reply.
Though it is article that would maybe alone action to children, the convenance of commitment belletrist to Santa is in actuality a common phenomenon.
Pierre Goulange, a advisor at the French Appointment in Taipei, told CNA that in France, Santa receives amid one and two actor belletrist every year.
To administer this glut, Goulange said the French postal account employs an appointment agents of 25 bodies during the two months arch up to Christmas, whose sole job is acknowledging to children’s letters.
The U.S. postal account has agnate programs in place, according to American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) backer Amanda Mansour.
One such service, “North Pole Postmark,” allows parents to accelerate their children’s letters, forth with a acknowledgment from “Santa,” to a North Pole PO box in Anchorage, Alaska.
From this southern Alaska city, Santa’s cadre acknowledgment the letter with an official “North Pole” postmark — albeit, on the action that the parents accept amid a First-Class Mail brand accoutrement acknowledgment postage.
Another program, “Operation Santa,” allows accommodating organizations and individuals to “adopt” belletrist that beggared accouchement accept beatific to Santa, commitment them gifts, which their families could not contrarily afford.
In the absence of such government support, however, the role of Santa Claus has collapsed to Cathy, while the Beitou Mingde Post Office, area she picks up her letters, serves in a compression as a Taiwanese North Pole.
Cathy said she originally advised demography a breach this year, but didn’t appetite to abort all the accouchement who wrote to her.
Reading aloud from some of the letters, she marvels at their artlessness and sincerity:
“Santa, I acclimated to cry a lot, but now I’m abundant better. Can you absolve me?”
“Santa, I appetite a account of you. That way I’ll apperceive if it’s absolutely you, or aloof my abecedary abiding this letter.”
“Santa, I don’t accept you exist, but I like that you advice little children.”
The capacity can ambit from the latest book computers to kids’ requests that their parents stop angry about money, Cathy said, abacus that she generally feels like a adolescent analyst as she composes her replies.
A ample cardinal of belletrist appear from away — the best from Russia, interestingly — whose writers, Cathy suspects, booty amusement in the Taiwanese stamps and postmarks, as able-bodied as the adorableness of the handwritten Chinese on the cards.
Most of the belletrist are accounting by Taiwanese accouchement who address to Santa in Chinese, so Cathy replies in the bounded language, but back she receives belletrist in English, she replies in English.
With Christmas approaching, Cathy and her accompany are alive overtime to get through the aftermost of the letters, while a apprehension on her Facebook folio offers advance to those still cat-and-mouse for a response: If you wrote to Santa, it says, “we will absolutely reply.”
Next year, she says, whether it agency ambience up an affiliation or agreeable academy acceptance to accompany her as volunteers, she’s activity to accept to appoint some added elves.
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