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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."Comprehension questions
- What is the unlikely source of understanding children's COVID fears?
- Where is the post office that is replying to letters to Santa?
- What are children requesting as usual in their letters?
- When did the post office start replying to letters to Santa?
- What did a post office letter write say she feels this year?
- How many letters a day has the post office been receiving?
- How many "elves" are on the letter-writing team?
- What did a child write to say he or she needed?
- What did a child put inside an envelope for Santa to use?
- Who did the post office say children have been deprived of?
Back to the letters to Santa lesson.