Tis the season to realise your parents lied to you.
See, when you’re a kid you know something adults don’t: magic is real.
You believe in things, like an oversized sentient rabbit that wants to give you chocolate eggs but also wants you to work for them. Or that a hoarding, winged woman will pay gold coins for your old teeth.
And that an omnipotent, judgmental man in a red suit will bring you presents in December if your behaviour meets his expectations.
Each Christmas, your parents told you to make sure you write your letter to Santa so he knows exactly what you want. And you’d get a reply from the man himself, telling you to keep your head in until Christmas.
Then, as if by magic, the presents you asked for (at least one of them) would turn up under the tree.
Well, it breaks my heart to tell you that, in fact, Santa isn’t the world’s greatest pen pal, and the fate of your letters is a little bit dire.
If you address your letter to ‘Santa, North Pole, 9999’ and pop it in the post box, it will go all the way to your local Australia Post centre.
There, the staff sort out the letters from the boring, adult mail, and record the return name and address on each one. If there’s no return address or it can’t be read, it’s not likely to get very far.
Every year, Australia Post receives over 120,000 letter to Santa, so the responses sent back have about the same level of personalisation as your principal’s comments on your school reports.
They are typically vague and conservative in what they promise, to save parents from having to explain why Santa didn’t give little Timmy a Playstation 4, VR Headset AND Nintendo NES when he’s been so good this year.
As for the original letters? Well… hopefully Australia Post recycles?
Kids in America have it a bit better, as their replies have a special feature. The the US Postal Service lets you send a return letter with your child’s one, which they’ll post back to you with an official North Pole Postmark.
There are also plenty of businesses that offer a personalised letter writing service if you’re willing to spend a bit more for a more detailed response to keep the magic alive.
Despite Australia Post’s lacklustre elves, Australia still has Christmas spirit(s) in spades, just check out this legend from Perth.
And Aussie kids are clearly keeping the Santa flame alive. Just check out this adorable letter, which asks some very pertinent questions of the man in red.