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Santa’s elves respond to thousands of letters, landing in Santa Claus, Ind.

The Hoosier helpers start their work the day after Thanksgiving and continue working through the holiday season until Christmas.

(WHAS11) -- It’s not the North Pole but perhaps it’s the next best thing.  Right up the road from Louisville, Santa’s Indiana elves are hard at work answering letters. 

"Dear Santa I have been a really bad girl this year," one letter read.        

"Santa Claus receives thousands of letters from children from all over the world that come to this little town, of Santa Claus Indiana," Chief Elf Pat Koch said. 

The Hoosier helpers start their work the day after Thanksgiving and continue working through the holiday season until Christmas. 

The elves in disguise respond to notes from all over the globe.  

Koch said, "They come from Russia, Australia, Spain, Germany."

Some of the letters are traditional like one that read, “For Christmas I want a bubble gum machine, for Christmas I want my two front teeth, I want three cans of cranberry sauce."

Others letters are more of a sign of the times.

"This Christmas I would like almost everything but mostly I only want data, data, data," another letter read. 

The volunteers read every letter and respond with a personalized letter, addressed to the sender and returned in the mail. 

Director of The Santa Claus Museum and Village Nell Hedge said, "It’s kind of like a crazy month for us to get all of the letters responded to then a whoosh, we're done, but it’s really fun as we're doing it."

The Santa supporters say they love to lend the big man a hand while he's busy building toys.        

Mrs. Koch has been doing it since the 1940s, when her father started helping the postmaster respond to notes. 

"In that first letter children are asking for underway and socks and mitten and shoes, not for X-boxes or candy," Koch said. 

But just like life, they see a little bit of everything and the words stick with them long after the letter is sealed. 

"Just seeing some of the letters that the kids write, and, some of them are very sad, but they're good they're fun," Hedge said. 

"My mommy and daddy are losing their house right after Christmas, I know mommy and daddy could use all of the help from you and the elves”, one Santa note read. 

By the end of the season, Santa's helper have seen and sent some 20,000 notes. 

They work around the clock, answering every single note until they hit the deadline. This year the deadline in Thursday December 20. 

Koch said, "We know we bring joy and we know we help children believe in something that they can't see but believe in and we think that's really important."

It’s the magic of the holiday season, a reason to believe and it all starts in small town Indiana. 

"We must keep believing and I wish we could all see Christmas spirit all year- wouldn't that be a wonderful world?" Koch said. 

If you want to send a letter to Santa, it must arrive at the Santa Claus Post Office on or before Thursday December 20, in order to get a response back before Christmas. 

Mail your letter to: PO Box 1 Santa Claus, IN 47579

Learn more here