This Kamloops woman has been helping Santa respond to letters for 34 years | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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This Kamloops woman has been helping Santa respond to letters for 34 years

Izzy McQueen, 87, of Kamloops has been responding to letters written by children to Santa for more than 30 years.
December 12, 2020 - 12:05 PM

 This story was originally published in 2019. Izzy McQueen was forced to retire last month before being rehired as a honorary elf.

Every year, thousands of boys and girls write a letter to Santa Claus with their wishes.

This time of the year can be a busy time for the for the big guy in the red suit and luckily, Izzy McQueen of Kamloops is one of Santa’s many helpers aiding St. Nick and his elves by answering many local letters.

It started roughly 34 years ago when McQueen, 87, was approached to help answer letters through Canada Post’s Santa letter program.

This year, McQueen and a handful of other ladies have already began responding to the many letters from children originating from the city. Some from as young as 18 months old written by their parents to bundles of letters from local elementary classes, daycares and more.

“I just grab a bunch, sort them out and give them to the girls, I take some and we all get going,” she says.

It’s an important job and each letter requires some thought before they begin to respond, McQueen says.

“You have got to stop and think what you’re going to say to them,” she says.

And some letters can be challenging. Just the other day, McQueen received a letter from a young girl asking if Santa could find someone for her dad.

“She said she wanted this and this and this and then up in the corner she said ‘Santa, can you please find someone for my dad?’ I mean, what do you say? You just want to cry,” she says.

But some letters can be funny, cute or completely unexpected.

An example of a letter written to Santa Claus Izzy McQueen has received.
An example of a letter written to Santa Claus Izzy McQueen has received.

“I even got one from a jailbird. I was sitting there thinking ‘What am I going to put?’ and I wrote ’Is this the way you want to live your life?’” she says. “I said a few other things and then ‘I said either shape up or ship out’ and I never heard anything more from (them).”

Sometimes, McQueen is surprised by the generosity and maturity of some kids in their letters.

“Some kids will do a list and other kids will say don’t bring me anything, give it to the poor kids and look after the animals,” she says.

But for the kids who do write lengthy lists, McQueen does her best not to make any promises.

“I say ‘Wow! That was a pretty long list and Santa will do his best,’” she says.

Over the years, McQueen has noticed some kids will even write to Santa for advice on problems they are having at school.

“Some of the kids will say they are getting picked on and I say you tell your teacher and your mom,” she says.

So far, she has responded to 48 letters but they are still coming.

“That is just a drop in the bucket,’ she says.

But regardless of the amount of work it takes to respond to each letter, it brings her joy knowing each child she writes to gets a reply and acknowledgement from Santa.

“This is fun, I really get a kick out of it,” she says. “This makes Christmas for me, it really does.”

The mailing deadline to get a response before Christmas is Dec. 12 at the mailing address: Santa Claus, North Pole, H0H 0H0, Canada. No postage is required if mailed within Canada but don't forget to include a return address.

According to Canada Post, the program answers more than a million letters each year and responds in 39 languages including braille.

This story was originally published Nov. 29, 2019.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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