|Letters to Santa show children's pandemic fears
An unlikely source has revealed the pandemic fears of thousands of children across the world – Santa's mailbag. A post office in France that answers mail it receives for Santa has described the concerns children have been expressing about COVID-19. The letters contain the usual requests for Christmas gifts, but many have emotional outpourings that provide an insight into how the coronavirus pandemic is troubling young minds. The post office has been responding to "Dear Santa" letters since 1962. A writer who replies to the notes said: "This year, we really feel their fears – for themselves, their grandparents or their parents. It's what really emerges from their letters. And in every country."
The post office has been inundated with around 12,000 letters per day. It has a team of 60 letter-writing "elves". They say that many children are confiding in Santa and expressing heartfelt fears that perhaps parents are in the dark about. One child wrote: "This year, more than the others, I need magic and to believe in you." Another child slipped a mask inside her envelope for Santa to not spread the virus. A "chief elf" explained the emotional toll on children. She said: "The letters to Santa are a sort of release for them. All this year they have been in lockdowns and have been deprived of school and their grandpas and grandmas.…Children are putting into words everything they have felt during this period."