Dear Santa, bring hope for the holidays Letters: Again this year, people pour their hearts out, praying someone is keeping a list.

December 17, 1997|By Rob Hiaasen | Rob Hiaasen,SUN STAFF

In downtown Baltimore, the third floor of the U.S. Post Office is decked out in festive gray for the holidays. Gray walls, gray floors, one gray elevator, a few gray expressions. And behind one gray door, colorful life stories pour out.

Each year, the post office receives more than a thousand letters addressed to Santa, and each year, the post office sends back "Santa" replies. But among all those children's letters are serious appeals from adults. Postal employees deliver donated gifts, food and clothing to some of them, about 150 families this year. Post office spokeswoman Pat Mank and her helpers separate the letters into "funny" and "needy" piles. Each year, we drop by to read the letters -- and bum hot tea off of Mank. With these letters, Mank doesn't need to read between any lines: Giga pets, Giga pets and Giga pets are hot this season. Little girls are into nail polish and nail art ... "and we're seeing a lot more letters from people who are homeless," Mank says.

"And more letters from fathers. In fact, I can't remember ever getting a letter from a father."

So, once again, we present letters to Santa from single mothers, and now fathers, from the homeless, from the unemployed, from the sick, from the prideful, and from kids who still believe in Santa and who still think to ask about Mrs. Claus.

Reading the letters have become a holiday custom, like watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas" -- Charlie's scrawny Christmas tree, Linus providing the meaning of Christmas, and the great jazz score from the late Vince Guaraldi, who wrote "Christmastime is Here" for the TV special.

The song still sticks in our head -- like the letters to Santa: Christmastime is here, happiness and cheer. Fun for all that children call, their favorite time of year ...

"Dear Santa,"

I am the father of three boys. I have my boys because there mother have's a proble. My sons missing there mother very much and sometime I don't have the rigth words to said to them about her.

I get Social Services for me and my boys. but that's not showing them how a grown man should be. I dont wont my boys thinking that I am a losser.

Santa it hard for a man to ask for help because he should always be on top of things. Please help us.

God bless you,

Clarence (Baltimore)."

Snowflakes in the air, carols everywhere. Olden times and ancient rhymes of love and dreams to share ...

"Dear Santa,

I'm writing this letter on the behalf of a dear friend; I will refer to her as 'pride less.' The reason for the name is because she is a young woman who is about to give birth to her baby. And she is in need for clothing and items for the baby, but she does not have the pride to ask for these things. So I ask you Santa; Why does the baby have to suffer?

She is due on or about Dec. 19, with your help her baby will have a nice 1st Christmas. The items that are needed are as followed: newborn clothing, diapers, crib, playpen, blankets, under clothes, stroller, high chair.

xTC I want to thank you.

Rita (Randallstown)"

Sleigh bells in the air, beauty everywhere. Yuletide by the fireside, joyful memories there ...

"Dear Santa Claus,

I want to know how you are doing! I hope you are doing fine or there are going to be a lot of unhappy people on Christmas Day! I want 10 rings ... and I want someone to be my boyfriend -- or I will take anything you give me!! Mom wants somebody to love her.

Daddy wants anything you give him.

Merry Christmas!

Kyra (Baltimore)"

Christmastime is here, families drawing near. Oh that we could always see, such spirit through the years ...

"Dear Santa,

My family has been suffering because of my addiction. I hope that you could make my family Christmas merry. It would be a blessing to them. I have three sons and one daughter. Please contact their mom, Queen.

Kevin (Baltimore).

"Dear Santa,

I'm a single parent of four. We have lost alot emotionally and materially because of the addiction of their father. I'm not asking for anything big, just a few gifts to lift their holiday spirits.

Thank you,

Queen."

Sleigh bells in the air, beauty everywhere. Yuletide by the fireside, joyful memories there ...

"Dear Special Friend,

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Mrs. Claus and I were so happy to hear from you. We even showed your letter to the elves. The holiday season is upon us at last ... It's such a wonderful time of year! Be sure to be kind to everyone. Happy holidays to you and your family.

Jolly wishes,

Santa (letter returned to sender -- the Post Office)"

Christmastime is here, families drawing near. Oh that we could always see, such spirit through the years ...

"Dear Santa,

I recently started to develop money problems. I have five children that expect alot at Christmas. My 16 year old is expecting a baby in January. We have to get stuff for the baby ... Please help.

Doreen (Baltimore)"

Christmastime ...

"Santa,

This is my second letter. This is to inform you of my new address. I have no phone. If my son Kevin is selected, you'd have to write me a letter.

Lisa (Super 8 Motel on Pulaski Highway)"

Christmastime ...

"Dear Santa,

I would like to have: Anything you want me to have.

Love,

Alexis."

Christmastime is here.

Pub Date: 12/17/97

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