EAST LIVERPOOL — Kade Reynolds has fond memories of his childhood, growing up in the city — especially around Christmas –and he wants to make sure today’s youth enjoys the same.
This is the fourth year that Reynolds has been serving as Santa’s personal ghost writer for city children, spending the holiday season answering hundreds of letters for the jolly one.
Reynolds explained, “I started this, because I also got Santa replies to my letters as a kid and I have several little cousins who were big into Santa and wanted them to have the same experience.”
He never did find out who his Secret Santa was as a kid, but the former teacher’s aide for city schools said that he looks forward to carefully crafting the handwritten letters every year.
Parents can either send a screenshot of the letter via private message on Facebook, text message or physically send the letter via snail mail to Santa Claus, 744 Midway Lane, East Liverpool, OH 43920.
If they send it online attached to a message, not only can they get the original for a scrapbook or memory book, they also minimize contact during the pandemic.
“I have met with a few parents face-to-face in the past, but the kids like seeing it actually mailed to the ‘North Pole,’” Reynolds explained.
When Reynolds drafts the return letter, it is personalized and handcrafted with “North Pole” on the return address.
Typically what is in the letter? Reynolds said, “They talk about things they want for Christmas, a new baby sister or puppy and how school is going. It is mostly one page of everyday kid stuff.”
However, he has been known to add personal information furnished by a parent or guardian in the letter.
For example, if little Johnny has a habit of “back talking” to his grandma or they have a Elf On The Shelf named Biff, Reynolds includes those little tidbits in there. “The more personal you can make it, the better the response is,” Reynolds added.
Now employed at the power plant in Shippingport, he said that this helps him to keep the spirit alive that he witnessed while on the faculty at East Liverpool schools.
He needs to receive the letters by Dec. 15, which allows him 10 days to get the reply letters there before Christmas.
While it takes a lot of time and effort to handcraft these communications in red pen and mail them back, Reynolds said that he does enjoy seeing the fruits of his labor. “Some parents will post a photo or video of the kids opening the letter.”
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