Indiana Town Embodies Santa Claus and his Spirit of Love, Peace, Joy

Indiana Town Embodies Santa Claus and his Spirit of Love, Peace, Joy

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Young parishioners shake hands Dec. 2 with an actor portraying St. Nicholas, the namesake of their church. St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Santa Claus, Ind., hosted the visit from “St. Nick” ahead of the saint’s feast day, which is Dec. 6. (CNS photo/KatieRutter)

SANTA CLAUS, Ind. (CNS) – Belief in that iconic Christmas figure, the rotund merry man with a bag full of presents, inspires thousands of children to write letters addressed to “Santa Claus” each year. Surprisingly, many of these wish lists actually do get delivered to Santa Claus. But rather than landing in a magical workshop at the North Pole, the notes wind up in a little Indiana town that bears the same name as the jolly old elf. “We have already answered 5,000 and we’ll be getting more this morning,” Patricia Koch, founder of the Santa Claus Museum and Village, told Catholic News Service Dec. 2. “They come from the U.S.A. and from all over the world.” Koch and a dozen other volunteers work long hours to “help” Santa answer the letters that find their way to the Santa Claus post office. Koch calls this letter-writing a ministry and is dedicated to keeping the spirit of Santa Claus, the person, alive. “Our world can become very self-centered and commercialized,” she explained, “so I think Santa Claus has that spirit of love and forgiveness and peace and joy.”