He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice. He, meaning the recreation departments of Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown, that is. Both villages invite the children of the community to reroute their letters to the North Pole through a certain local box and P.O. Box.
Ralph Nicoletti, senior recreation director in Tarrytown, says they’ve playing the role of Santa on paper now for the last seven years. The rec department workers, or rather elves, involved may not know exactly who’s naughty and nice but they do keep track of who wrote the previous year and who has siblings, so the same letter doesn’t go out to the same household. “We have about three to four form letters that we personalize,” Nicoletti said.
Last year they sent out about 125-130 letters, mostly in response to children. “You’d be surprised at the requests,” he said. They get cut-outs from toy catalogues, long lists, wishes for “a boyfriend for my mother.”
The letter won’t promise that a certain gift is coming but it will encourage the behaviors necessary to make Santa and his reindeer (and parents) happy: go to bed early, be good, put out those cookies and milk for the hungry flying crew.
Nicoletti also welcomed parents to write on behalf of their babies, who will receive a “keepsake” letter in return.
In Sleepy Hollow, Recreation Director Robin Pell said the Santa letters have been going out since at least the early 1990s when she started there part-time. The village receives about 250 letters a year. "Since our mail box is in the SH post office we get a lot; the school classes sometimes do their letters and walk them to the post office to mail," she said.
Pell said they receive many sweet letters thanking Santa for being so kind, many pictures children make for Santa, and "a lot of letters telling Santa to drink the milk and eat their cookies."
Tarrytown residents, mail your letters by December 16 to: Santa’s Reindeer Express, c/o the Recreation Deparment, PO Box 292, Tarrytown, NY 10591.
Sleepy Hollowites have until Dec. 21 to leave their letters in a special box in the Sleepy Hollow Post Office.
Please include a return address and name of child!