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Senior elves serve as liaison to Santa for Stow children

By Heather Beyer/ correspondent Published: December 23, 2012
Stow Elves 2
The senior elves John and Blanche Gretsinger made certain to relay all the Christmas wishes of the children of Stow to Santa at the North Pole. (Heather Beyer/

STOW: The United States Postal Service is celebrating its 100th year of making children’s holiday wishes come true through the Letters to Santa program.

The popular holiday program is known nationwide, and once again, city employees, members of the public, charitable organizations and corporations are aiding the USPS to respond to letters from children to Santa by participating in the Letters to Santa program.

This marks the third year that the city of Stow has made the Letters to Santa program part of its holiday tradition.

The city’s park and recreation department has sought the help of very special “senior elves” from their local senior center to serve as Santa’s special messengers.

“I wanted something that was intergenerational, something that would be a community program where kids would always remember going to city hall and dropping their letter off,” said Kathy McConnell of the parks and recreation department.

McConnell said that there has been a consistent group of six senior elves who have participated in the program since it began. 

“This is something that they really enjoy and that they look forward to,” McConnell said.

The senior elves take great pride in their position and have bragged about it to their friends, McConnell said.

This year, the senior elves reviewed and relayed more than 200 messages from the children of Stow to Santa at the North Pole.

Many of the letters the senior elves reviewed consisted of lists of toys.

However, there were a few letters that really stood out to the elves. 

When one of the senior elves came across a unique letter, the whole group would stop and listen, McConnell said.

They received a special wish from a boy named Palmer who said that this year there was something he wanted more than anything.

Palmer wants Santa to bring him a little brother named Toby.

Apparently, Palmer has a friend named Sierra and she has a little brother.

Palmer specifically requested that Toby be the same age as Sierra’s brother, and he also wants him to look and act just like him.

“I have never done this much for anything,” Palmer said in his letter. 

The boy has gone to great lengths in hopes that his Christmas wish will come true. Palmer has cleaned out a part of his room and prepared it so he can share it with his new brother Toby.

“I am going to buy diapers and baby wipes, so please get him or it will be a waste of good money and my allowance money,” Palmer said in his letter.

Palmer included a post script in his letter that read, “Please put Toby in a box with holes and include clothes.”

That was not the only memorable request to Santa.

Ethan and Seth asked Santa if they could help him deliver toys this year, but there is a catch: they have to be home by midnight.

Tommy wrote in his letter that he would like Santa to thank the elves for all the hard work they do.

Allison asked if “rood off” is fun in her letter.

Lyla said she would just like “a bouncy puppy.”

There were even letters from children who were celebrating their first Christmas.

Edward, five months old, wrote with the help of his mother that he was born on July 2 and that his mother, uncle and grandparents are all from Stow.

“I have lots of love and all that a little boy could need,” Edward said in his letter. “I love all the pretty Christmas lights and the music, too. Maybe you could jingle your sleigh bells for me. My mommy will have cookies for you and apples for the reindeer.”

A girl named Kristen confessed that her friends told her that Santa wasn’t real in her letter.

However, Kristen said, “I know you live here, some where.”

Mayor Sara Drew said she was very happy the city and the senior elves could help to sustain children’s belief in Christmas and Santa.

“There is so much time in all our lives that we have to deal in what are often difficult realities, so helping a child believe in the magical, fun and exciting parts of Christmas is really a treasure. I hope everyone in our community is able to find a part of Christmas that brings some of that magic into their lives,” Drew said.