By Trish Allison
T’was the month before Christmas and all through the web flowed emails of joy from little girls and boys. There were tweets and beeps and pings and clicks in hopes to hear from Jolly St. Nick.
Gone are the days where snail mail was the only way to get in touch with the North Pole’s only resident. Today’s generation of young Christmas believers have the choice of how to deliver the year’s wish list to Santa Claus.
“Santa is just getting on with the times and making sure he talks to the kids where they go, which is computers, iPads, and you know mobile devices,” said Anick Loiser, an elf working at Canada Post.
Tweets, emails and a flurry of personalized greeting cards allow children to get in touch with Santa without having to lift a pen.
“To me Christmas is more, the way I want to remember it as a kid, so this new thing, I think it takes away from it,” said Amy Ouali, mother of five.“There’s something about standing in the cold with your letter… my kids hand them in at the parade,” she said.
Ouali said her children write letters every year and it’s one of the traditions she loves. She said she hopes it’s a tradition that carries on, but hinted at a little doubt about the future of writing letters to Santa.
“If people are already emailing now, imagine what it’ll be like when my kids are having kids,” she said.
However, the age-old tradition of simply writing a letter on paper is still the most widely used form of communication with Christmas’ biggest mystery.
“Surprisingly kids still write their letters on paper and send it via the mail. Last year we got about 40, 000 emails as opposed to 1.2 million letters,” said Elf Anick.
Canada Post started their ‘Santa’s Post Office’ program nationally in 1982, but it originally began in 1974 in Montreal. Running in it’s 30th year, the program expects to receive it’s 20 millionth letter this Christmas.
“He knows kids like to write him because at this age kids like to practice their writing, they want to make sure that Santa gets their letters so they get the toys that they want,” she said.
In a couple weeks, Canada post will release a study that suggests young Canadians between 18 and 24, nine out of 10 prefer receiving and sending greeting cards in the mail.
“Whether it’s greeting cards or letters to Santa, I think that, that is part of our Christmas tradition and that’s what Christmas does to us, it kind of takes out the nostalgia out of us,” said Elf Anick.
Even though Christmas arrives earlier every year, some traditions stay the same, even when Santa himself enters the digital world.
“I think it stays all the same, it’s just coming with the times, it’s better that way anyway,” said Katie Maracle, a mother waiting in line at Quinte Mall with her daughter to see Santa.
“It makes it more interactive for the kids, it’s modern I guess,” she said.
Santa may have gone digital, but he still remains an enigma in the North.
“With the barrage of advertising and everything else that we see about Santa when they see the man himself they could not be more excited,” said Elf Anick.