Note: Kids, please don't read this story. It's about broccoli and homework, not Santa Claus.
Quick: where does Santa Claus live? Any kid could tell you that the answer is the North Pole, but it turns out Santa also owns property in Schenectady, New York.
Or, at least some of his mail gets delivered there. For decades, General Electric's head office in New York has been flooded with letters to the jolly old elf around Christmastime. It all began when the corporate giant arranged to get its own private zip code from the government.
The company settled on 12345, since it's so easy to remember. But it's caused a headache for the company ever since, because children filling out Santa's address on their letters love to pick an easy zip code - like 12345.
Until recently the company would just send the letters back to the post office, where teams of volunteers write back to children across America. But one dedicated worker at GE took matters into her own hands, and has spread Christmas cheer to thousands of kids.
Darlene Muscanell is an administrative assistant for General Electric, and about 20 years ago she noticed the flood of Christmas letters.
She organized a group of volunteers named "Santa's Workshop." On their lunch breaks, these "elves" write back to the letters children send in, mailing more than 1,400 replies each year.
Muscanell says Santa's helpers at GE put in as much effort as possible because "these kids are innocent. They’re just so innocent in what they’re asking for.” That includes requests for Legos, Star Wars action figures, and even a Chromebook laptop.
But many letters, which come from as far away as China, are much sweeter. “Believe it or not, a lot of the young children will ask for peace, or they’ll say they want their family to be happy,” Muscanell told the Daily Gazette.
While the employees use form letters to reach as many children as possible, they add personal touches to every message, and even write in foreign languages to kids from around the world.
Share this story with someone you know to spread Christmas cheer!
[H/T: Daily Gazette]