It’s the season ! The annual Letters to Santa Claus campaign has started

Jeanette and Linda Bokland stand next to their new letterbox for their “Letters to Santa Claus” project at their home on Mount Dora.

MOUNT DORA – Linda and Jeanette Bokland’s Letters to Santa project has become a holiday tradition for local families.

Each year, children are invited to drop off their letters to Santa Claus in a certified letterbox, a landing point before being shipped to the North Pole. But the Boklands made it a very special experience as the kids get a return letter from Mrs. Claus.

“This year we have a real mailbox for people to drop off their letters,” Jeanette said. “The one that was used before was just meant to be a prop and we had some issues with the letters getting wet, so we decided to find a real one.”

The Boklands got help decorating the new mailbox. Thanks to Joe Ziler of Kevco Builders and Wrap Masters of Central Florida, the mailbox is fully packed and ready to receive letters.

And they are already pouring in.

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Linda Bokland checks the mailbox for their “Letters to Santa Claus”  project in their house on Mount Dora.

Linda Bokland checks the letterbox for their Letters to Santa Claus project at their home on Mount Dora.

Go that extra mile

The Boklands never really intended to receive letters for Santa Claus. But three years ago they decorated their house for Christmas and had a Santa Claus mailbox for decoration. They noticed that letters were starting to appear from children who wanted to get their letter in front of the fat man himself.

So they went with it.

“We thought it would be cute to write these kids from Mrs. Claus and it only got worse from there,” Linda said.

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Letters are already pouring in and many from out of state that they suspect are visiting family over the holidays.

Letters are already pouring in and many from out of state that they suspect are visiting family over the holidays.

Last year, the couple received more than 500 letters all of which were answered thanks to Team Elf, a group of volunteers who meet at the Boklands home to draft responses. Although each response is stamped with a personalized North Pole stamp, one of the volunteers goes the extra mile and takes the letters to Christmas, Florida, so the postmark says they are from Christmas.

This year, the letters are expected to be dropped off by December 21 at their home at 201 W. 11th St. in Mount Dora to ensure a response by Christmas. Participants must include a return mailing address, but no postage is required.

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‘You are the letters to Santa Claus’

The Bokland & # x002019; s got help decorating the new mailbox.  Thanks to Joe Ziler of Kevco Builders and Wrap Masters of Central Florida, the mailbox is fully packed and ready to receive letters.

The Boklands got help decorating the new mailbox. Thanks to Joe Ziler of Kevco Builders and Wrap Masters of Central Florida, the mailbox is fully packed and ready to receive letters.

Since they started their project, the Boklands have become local celebrities of sorts.

“It’s amazing how people are going to stop us and say ‘You are the letters to Santa Claus’,” Linda said. “The schools have already contacted us to make field trips to allow children to drop off their letters. Young and old alike love to do it. Some make small gifts for Santa Claus. It just brings that Christmas spirit and now people are counting on it. “

Just this week, she said that one day had pulled her over in the parking lot and asked her if she was Santa’s lady.

“I told her ‘Yeah, it’s me,’” Linda said. “She went on to tell me how much she appreciates what we do and that her son has autism and that they do it together every year. That’s why we do what we do every year.

The Bokland & # x002019; s got help decorating the new mailbox.  Thanks to Joe Ziler of Kevco Builders and Wrap Masters of Central Florida, the mailbox is fully packed and ready to receive letters.

The Boklands got help decorating the new mailbox. Thanks to Joe Ziler of Kevco Builders and Wrap Masters of Central Florida, the mailbox is fully packed and ready to receive letters.

This Christmas will be a little different for Jeanette. In February, she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and is undergoing treatment. But those are all positive vibes as she strives to make this Christmas a fabulous one for the kids.

“I’m really grateful to our Elf team for helping us again this year,” said Jeanette. “There’s no point in worrying about what you can’t control, so our focus is on being positive about what we can.”

This article originally appeared in Daily Commercial: Mailbox is open: Mount Dora Letters to Santa campaign has started

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