Re: Santa Claus On-Line
Yes, I've already gotten quite a few messages this year. I normally answer each one myself, but I have prepared guidelines in years past for my "elves" at MCI Mail in the event I need their help. I have included them below for your reference; you may find them useful.
2. I usually tell them that I have made note of their requests and suggest that I'll do my best to fulfill them. (I try not to PROMISE that they'll get what they ask for and everything they ask for-- my sleigh's not THAT big!)
3. Answer specific questions that they ask.
4. Try to personalize the messages as much as possible. Sometimes when the parents write, they tell me about the kid's favorite subjects in school/sports/etc. and I use that info in my replies.
6. I often drop suggestions to work hard in school, listen to grownups, and all the other positive things that will insure that they are on my list of Good Boys and Girls next year. For the adults who write, I often make mention of the Toys For Tots campaign; by dialing 800--866-3363, they can make a credit card donation to this worthy cause.
7. Have fun! Use your imagination! Be funny!
8. I close the message with the tree motif that you will see at the bottom of this message. Note that there is a letterhead and signature registered for this mailbox, so all my outgoing fax and hardcopy looks suitably festive.
9. I save copies on diskette of all messages received and all of the replies. I keep them and refer back to them in the years to come. Some of these kids have been writing to me each year since 1988!
Some things to avoid:
Don't assume that the child is part of a two-parent family unless it is mentioned in the message to Santa.
Don't assume that the child is living with his/her parent(s).
Don't make promises to the kids, though it is generally safe to say to the child that he/she can expect a surprise or two.
Don't assume that the child is of a particular gender unless the letter specifically mentions that the kid is a girl or a boy. Too many names can be for either sex, and Santa is supposed to know each of these kids!
Thanks again for writing. Feel free to onpass any letters requesting a hardcopy or fax reply; I'll be happy to respond.
Santa * /^\ /+@ * /^ * ^\ + ^o^ +^\ /^* @^^o^^\ ^^+^^| |^*^^o |_|