Miami-Dade County

Did you mail a letter to Santa? Your reply is on the way

Santa's helpers read Christmas cards from children

Santa's helpers, Liliana Castro and Mirtha Uriarte, read Christmas cards at the United States Post Office in Miami on Mon., Dec. 19, 2016.
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Santa's helpers, Liliana Castro and Mirtha Uriarte, read Christmas cards at the United States Post Office in Miami on Mon., Dec. 19, 2016.

Cole knows he wasn’t a good boy this year.

But he hopes Santa will accept his apology.

“Now I know I have done something Horrible this year but I am SINCERLY (sic) sorry for what I have done all this year,” he wrote in a letter to Santa, which he signed a sincerely sorry boy, Cole.

Cole will soon receive a note from Santa’s helpers — also known as U.S. Postal Service employees.

“Thank you so much for the wonderful letter!” the note reads. “My pals at the Post Office are bringing me thousands of letters daily. I sit down in front of the fireplace every evening and read them.”

Leading up to Christmas, hundreds of colorful envelopes addressed to the man himself and to the North Pole come through the Postal Service’s Miami Processing & Distribution Center, 2200 NW 72nd Ave. Some of these letters even come from adults.

The letters are separated from the hundreds of thousands of cards, letters and bills that go through the plant daily. Monday — the busiest mailing day — the center expects to sort through 1 million pieces of mail from the Miami area throughout the day.

“We are ready for it,” said Enrique Suarez, the postmaster. “This is something that happens every year.”

In the massive plant, all mail is dumped into a machine that feeds onto a conveyor belt. The mail is eventually sorted by another machine.

The letters for Santa go straight into a special bin.

One of Santa’s helpers Mirtha Uriarte, the customer relations coordinator for Miami, said she loves being a part of “keeping the belief alive.”

“It’s important that they get something back,” Uriarte said. Sometimes the helpers add a personal note to make it clear that the child’s letter has been read.

In this year’s batch of letters alone, the wishes — and the ways of asking for them — made the helpers laugh. In some cases, they made them cry — like the letter asking for a home for a family to live.

One girl attached a dollar bill next to a list that included Shopkins, Hatchimals — both popular children’s toys — and real cooking supplies. One child asked only for treats and toys for a cat — and drew pictures of the cat. Some children attached Amazon and advertisements to their letter to show Santa exactly what they wanted.

Some of the popular asks this year: Shopkins, hoverboards, video games and sports equipment. Some adults asked for jobs and financial help.

Over the years, there have been some tough letters to read, said another one of Santa’s helpers Liliana Castro, the manager, consumer and industry contact, such as children asking for basic necessities like warm clothes, crutches and food to eat.

One year, a little boy wrote to Santa after his cat had “run away.” He told Santa that his cat was his only friend and that he was being bullied in school. So Santa’s helpers reached out to the boy’s mom. His mom not only spoke to the school about the bullying problem, but the boy got a new cat.

“It’s hard not to be sad when you see some of these,” she said. “But we know we can’t help everyone.”

And then there are the letters that “just make you feel good,” Uriarte said.

One, in particular, made her smile:

“What I want for Christmas is for every child to have a family to enjoy on Christmas day,” a girl wrote.