Recently, a friend of mine heard her kindergartener praying. She tip-toed to the door and eavesdropped. As she quietly listened in she realized, hilariously, that her daughter was praying to Santa. I smiled so hard it almost broke my face. Jelly Belly vs. Jesus for the win!

When I was a kid, we always had at least one gift “from Santa.” I’m 44 years old, and my mom still makes sure that the sleigh arrives right on time.

The genuine heart of children during the holidays is so refreshing, guileless and sweetly dispositioned. Other than “praying” to Santa, there may be no better proof of this than letters to the Jolly Old Elf himself.

Take these hilarious examples as evidence:

“Dear Santa, you better bring my pony this year or there will be consequences!”

“Dear Santa, if you can’t buy what I want, take it easy on yourself. Just give me tens and ones of money.”

“Dear Santa, please leave before 6:00. My alarm goes off at 6:00. P.S., my stocking is on the left.”

“Dear Santa, it’s Claire again. But I’m writing for my 9-year-old brother named Mitch. He wants a binder, a binder hole punch (I want a hole punch too), and a skateboard (but don’t give the skateboard to him). Mitch is very kind-hearted but has a bad temper. He also writes messy and doesn’t like to read. Bye, signed Mitch. P.S., this is not his signature.”

You can’t improve on the joyful transparency of a child reaching out across the porous boundaries of cosmic reality to express her heart’s deepest wishes – and, you can’t beat the way she’ll throw her little brother under the bus to get there. Priceless!

Long live the letter to Santa.

The age-old tradition of Christmas correspondence, however, is changing. High tech is swooping in faster than the fat man himself.

One can imagine a day when Artificial Intelligence will read and respond to these letters. Just this past week, I shared a YouTube video with my staff. Maybe you’ve seen it. It’s a demonstration – a real call – of the Google Assistant making a salon appointment. Crazy! Santa hasn’t been uploaded into the cloud just yet, though. He’s still living in the mostly analog world of reindeer, sleigh rides and chimneys. Even so, the digital world is changing faster than a midnight tour around the globe, so be ready.

And while you can’t beat crayons, thick lined paper and frayed edges left tantalizing close to real milk and cookies – not digital ones – why not explore the fantastic array of ways to bring joy to every child, no matter the medium?

Both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store have the Letters to Santa app and many more. These apps may even be able to bail you out in the midst of a Christmas crisis. One year, my wife and I started putting together a gift for my daughter – her first bike. It was missing a crucial part. We darted around town trying desperately to find a replacement. No app for that! It sure would have been nice to have an air-tight, digital explanation from the gravity-defying toy toter himself.

Want a personalized video from Santa? There’s an app for that too. It’s appropriately – if not very creatively – named Personalized Video from Santa. Hey, the elves are making handcrafted toys; cut ‘em a break on their bland brand nomenclature.

Okay, don’t forget the Santa Tracker. What use is a letter to Santa if you can’t ensure that there’s been a liftoff and a landing? Terri Peters, writing for Today, lists “7 Santa Tracker” apps that might just be the secret sauce to keeping the Christmas magic alive.

If you still want to expand your options, the LA Times’ Bonnie McCarthy wrote “5 Ways to Send Letters to the North Pole.” She reminds that email is an option. That just doesn’t get the jingle juices flowing for me. If, like me, quill and paper is still your shtick, the USPS has your back. Admittedly, I like the leave-the-letter-on-the-counter approach, but if you want something a little more authentic than trying to hide the evidentiary paper trail, the postal service has an entire process for you. Just go to to find detailed instructions of how to get your proof that the King in the North isn’t residing at Winterfell. How fun!

You know, the more you think about it, perhaps we all could use a little more “prayer” to Santa. I don’t mean that sacrilegiously. Just a reminder that it’s okay to dream, to hope and to believe that the day on the horizon is full of good gifts, blissful laughter, loving smiles and inexpressible joy.

Dear, Santa…

Richard Singleton, MACE, MAMFC, LPC, is the president of STARRY in Round Rock.

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