Every year at about this time, this red-suited man opens his mailbox only to find it flowing with letters upon letters, carefully addressed by Northbrook’s kids. Decorated using crayons, markers, pencils and more, each letter aims to ensure they’ll get a response from the North Pole’s most-talked-about man, Santa Claus.
With the help of Santa’s helpers working remotely at the Northbrook Park District, Santa responded to all letters received between Nov. 23 and Dec. 9 from a red mailbox standing in front of the Leisure Center on 3323 Walters Ave. in Northbrook.
“They were very attentive and I basically told them that Santa knows they have been very good this year and would try to bring them something special for Christmas,” Sparkle the Elf told The Tower.
The children's letters were written with love — sometimes scribbled — and decorated with stickers, as 130 children wrote to Santa.
Some of the children thanked Santa for presents they’d received the previous year.
Others said they would leave him cookies and milk, and one little girl asked Sparkle what kind of cookies Santa would like.
“I told her 'Santa will like any type of cookies,'” Sparkle said. “She just kind of chuckled and said OK, that she would leave the cookies.”
Quite a few mentioned they have been very good this year, explaining how they were nice to classmates, helped put away the laundry, listened to their parents, fed the dog, or were good to their siblings.
One child admitted to being “good but not perfect.”
Some children asked for specific presents for their younger siblings. In case there was any confusion, a 9-year-old girl included magazine cutouts of the toys she wanted for her sister and herself.
One young boy appeared to bet on himself, listing almost 30 items that he wanted Santa to bring, including a cell phone, an iPad, a tree house, an ice rink and a pet dog.
In the letters, most of the children just told Santa what they wanted for Christmas.
Wish lists often included Lego blocks, Shopkins, and everything Stars Wars.
Santa also received numerous requests for world peace.
One child put in a practical request for a scarf, gloves, hat, warm coat and warm boots.
The most unusual requests were for a pet turkey and a rainbow.
Sparkle, who has been calling Northbrook households for the past few years, said she loves her job.
“I truly enjoy hearing the excitement in the children's voices. ... It's very uplifting,” she said.
During her scores of phone calls to kids, she made sure to tell them to leave cookies out for Santa and some carrots for the reindeer.
Interest in getting calls from Sparkle has increased over the years.
“It's just really fun to try and bring a little extra joy into people's holiday,” she said. "Most children are really surprised to be getting the call. I tell them we are very busy up at the North Pole building toys but that Santa did receive the letter and knows that the children were very good this year."