It's Karen's Turn column: 'Papa's cancer go away' -- What children write to Santa

The following is an opinion column written by an Echo Press editorial staff member. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.

Our turn
優太丸 木戸 - stock.adobe.c
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Hoverboards are hot. So are Legos and Squishmallows.

LOL dolls? Maybe not as much as last year.

How do I know? Simple. Every year I get to act as Santa's secretary. It's one of my favorite tasks at the Echo Press. Kindergarten and second grade students in Alexandria, Carlos, Garfield and Miltona write letters to Santa with their Christmas wishes. These letters end up on my desk before heading to the North Pole. I enter them into our computer system and this year, they'll run in the Wednesday, Dec. 21 issue of the Echo Press.

That's how I know the popularity of Barbies and Legos endures, as does the desire for Nerf guns, Nintendo Switch, and unicorns. And there's a new toy out there, based on a relatively new Netflix show called "Gabby's Dollhouse," where a girl has adventures with her cat friends. Quite a few kids are asking for Gabby toys.

I feel enormously privileged, getting a glimpse into the minds and wishes of hundreds of little boys and little girls.


Sometimes their excitement leaps off the page. They write in exclamation points and capital letters. Some letters are more subdued, exerting a simple faith that there exists a being whose sole purpose is the happiness of children.

Their wishes range from the simple, for candy or a fuzzy blanket, to the extravagant. One child asked for a Lamborghini.

Sometimes the letters are poignant.

"I wish my Papa’s cancer would go away," one boy wrote.

Their generosity spills over. They ask for necklaces for their mothers, tools for their dads. They ask Santa to bring toys for their brothers and sisters. One girl asked nothing for herself, only that a homeless person would "find a good family and be happy."

Children ask Santa questions. How do his reindeer fly, they ask him. How does he deliver presents to all the children all over the world in just one night? Does Santa have a mom? What's his favorite joke?

This year, several children asked for Santa to write back to them. Well, kids, as Santa's secretary, I have to tell you that he is super busy right now with all the last-minute preparations for flying out on Christmas Eve. However, he did ask me to tell you this: That no matter what you receive for Christmas, he loves you very much. He sees your kind hearts. He wants you to grow, and play, and learn. He wants you to be yourselves, because there's only one of you, and you are beloved and perfect. Each one of you has a purpose in life.

"Tell them all I said Merry Christmas!" he exclaimed. "Ho! Ho! Ho!"


“It’s Our Turn” is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.

Reporter Karen Tolkkinen grew up in Plymouth, Minnesota, graduated from the University of Minnesota with a journalism degree in 1994, and was driven by curiosity to work her way around the United States.
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