Thank you, Thank you, Thank you
North Pole via Calgary, AB (PRWEB) December 17, 2007
On Christmas Eve, Santa Claus may be much closer than you think - just a click away. A popular website, EmailSanta.com, will be letting kids of all ages send emails to Santa Claus on the big night and throughout the holiday season. Santa even promises an immediate, magical reply, between cookie breaks of course, all free and safe for the whole family.
"Santa's suit and sleigh have the ultimate wireless connection," chuckles Santa's Head Elf and EmailSanta.com founder, Alan Kerr. "Santa's roaming charges are a bit higher than most people's," he adds.
To email Santa, kids complete a simple fill-in-the-blank letter and hit send. The site asks for as little information as possible. Personally identifiable information like last names, phone numbers, street and email addresses are not required. Children are also reminded to check with an adult before sending any information over the Internet. "Recent events like Microsoft's errant Santa chat-bot and Canada Post's 'rogue elf' highlight the importance of teaching our children about on- and off-line safety", says Kerr, the father of 2 young elves.
Within a matter of minutes, a very personalized reply appears on the screen complete with special sound effects. While EmailSanta.com replies to letters every day of the year, Santa's response is particularly careful not to promise anything once Santa's sleigh is packed.
Santa's Head Elf consults with child psychologists, parent focus groups and an international group of professional Santa Claus actors about the best messages to send kids. Also, because of his special relationship with children, Santa does receive heart-wrenching emails from children in difficult situations. In those cases, the child receives a special reply including links and numbers to child welfare agencies around the globe.
Kids who love to add personal touches to their letters can upload their creations for Santa Claus to see. Santa receives lots of photos, scanned handmade cards chock full of pictures of toys clipped from advertisements, even video and audio letters. "The PowerPoint presentations kids send Santa are much nicer than the Naughty/Nice pie charts he usually sees," jokes the Head Elf. "Even the youngest kids are incredibly creative and comfortable using computers and the Internet."
One website, the Rellim Family Blogspot, recounts the story of a friend who asked her five-year-old son in early November if he'd like to go to the mall and sit on Santa's lap. The child told her he didn't need to because he had already emailed Santa last night with his wish list.
For children who have grown up in the Internet Age, sending an electronic note to Santa Claus is a given. According to AOL internet experts, around 250,000 more kids sent Santa their Christmas list by email than by post in 2005.
"Over the season and peaking Christmas Eve, we're expecting roughly 1.2 million letters. The number of letters just keeps growing," says Kerr, who resides in Calgary, Canada. According to a recent press release, Canada Post, the Guinness World RecordsTM Holder for the most Santa letters received and replied to by mail, handled 1.06 million letters last year. Ironically, EmailSanta.com began 10 years ago when Kerr started the site -- as a lark to accept Santa letters from his young niece and nephews during a Canadian postal strike.
Kerr provides most of the funding for the site himself and has turned down offers to sell it. However, he admits it will be necessary for Santa to partner with another global player to meet the ever-growing demand of the young-at-heart to communicate with Santa Claus. Given the mixture of technology and Santa's brand of magic, it's the kind of site one could see a Microsoft or Disney working with. Kerr promises however to continue protecting children's safety and privacy and remaining loyal to the site's goal of spreading a little Christmas cheer.
Grownups get into the Christmas spirit as much as the kids do on the popular site. Anxious children, and parents, can watch the Christmas clock countdown to Santa's visit to their home, browse thru Santa's photo albums that show him on vacation and shimmying down all those chimneys, read touching letters to Santa and peek at a huge collection of Christmas webcams showing all the places Santa sees on his yearly flight -- from the Silent Night Chapel in Austria to Graceland, Tennessee.
And each year, Kerr receives many personal emails from adults around the world about keeping the magic of Christmas alive:
"I just want you to know how WONDERFUL I think your website is! My 8 year old daughter had lost her faith in Santa until we found this website," says one very happy Mom. "She sent him a letter and was SHOCKED at the response she got! It's ALLLLL she is talking about! Thank you again for helping me keep my 8 year a "little girl" 1 more Christmas!"
Adults have also found other uses for the site. Such as the father who'd forgotten to put his son's wish list to Santa in the mailbox. The boy found the letter Christmas Eve. Amidst much crying and frantic searching on-line, the father eventually found EmailSanta.com, where Santa's reply put the boy at rest that all was well. The father later emailed Santa saying "Thank you, Thank you, Thank you".
Not surprisingly, parents are not alone in their last minute missives to Santa, as evidenced by this email from last year:
"Dear Santa, I have been a good boy this year but I have had quarrels and even fights with my brother and I'm going to try and be better about stopping a fight instead of adding to it. I hope you get my message because I am e-mailing you at seven o'clock on Christmas eve. Austin, 10, Middleburg, Virginia."
And Christian, 7, of Colchester, England, wanted to know: "Mommy and Daddy say I have not been very good these past few days. How bad can I be before I lose my presents?"