We all know Santa Claus is a pretty busy fellow at this time of year.
Not only is he faced with the Christmas Eve deadline and the knowledge he will have to travel around the world delivering presents, there are also all those letters from good girls and boys that he needs to answer.
It’s almost enough to make a Jolly Old Elf throw in the towel.
Thankfully, Santa has some help in the form of Izzy McQueen, a Kamloops resident who has been working with Canada Post to help St. Nick and his elves by answering many of the letters that originate locally.
“We’re working at it,” McQueen said.
“I think we’ve done 2,000 letters so far.”
That’s just an average year’s haul lately, but the work wasn’t always that large an undertaking.
The 86-year-old McQueen, who started this project 33 years ago, said the first year’s delivery totalled about 250 letters.
Year by year, the number of letters have increased. It was about 15 years ago when she needed to begin bringing in other like-minded locals to give her a hand.
The letters are sent by the kids to Canada Post, then forwarded to McQueen and her team.
Unfortunately, the rotating strikes at Canada Post this year have meant McQueen and her crew have had to work to catch up.
“We had to go like the dickens this year,” she said.
Mary Ellen Patterson, Sharon Ludwig, Dolly Beck and Lindsay Campbell make up McQueen’s team of little helpers.
Plenty of letters pass through their hands every year and McQueen insists every letter gets read and every letter gets a response.
Sometimes, though, the children’s handwriting can be a bit tricky to decipher.
“I’ve sent notes to the teachers — please send a list of names,” McQueen said as she explained her method of confirming the spelling of each child’s name.
After more than three decades, it’s still a labour of love for McQueen, knowing that she is helping to bring a bit of Christmas joy to local children.
“It’s really rewarding,” she said.
“It makes you feel good. It really does.”