One family’s Letters to Santa mailbox is spreading Christmas cheer to children far and near.
Shawna and Gregg Calvert of Bolingbrook, Illinois, are acting as Mr. and Mrs. Claus, handwriting replies to each child who drops off a letter.
“The best part is seeing the expressions on the kiddos’ faces — such precious, happy smiles,” Shawna Calvert, 47, told ABC News.
This is the first year the Calverts have had their homemade Christmas mailbox on display, and she said it’s been “such a blessing.”
“When we got our first letter, we were in tears, honestly,” said Calvert.
The idea was inspired by a similar mailbox she and her husband, Gregg Calvert, had seen for purchase last year, but didn’t buy because they were worried the store version wouldn’t be sturdy enough to withstand the winter weather.
“This year, a couple weeks ago, he looks at me and said, ‘I’m going to build that mailbox,’” Calvert said of her husband. “He started investigating poles and boxes and colors and hardware. Before too long he had filled up my Amazon cart filled up. We’ve got a very talented neighbor who was able to match the font and we had the thing built in under three days.”
The festive family has been averaging about 20 letters a day from children in their neighborhood, as well as from other states, but now that word has started to spread, “we’re going to have to hire more elves to write letters!,” Calvert wrote to ABC News on Facebook.
She said the children receiving the handwritten letters from Santa aren’t the only ones getting something special out of this kind deed, though.
“It’s been such a delight,” said Calvert. “It’s not been a burden at all. It’s been a real privilege. My teenagers have been helping write return letters. They go through and pick the ones they want to do. They’ll read them and feel a connection with them, so that’s been a neat part of it — the benefit of sitting down and connecting with family. It’s been really, really nice.”