The USPS helps make your Christmas dreams come true every year. ‘Dear Santa’ takes a look at the interior

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Damion DiGrazia will never forget the first taste of New Year’s magic.

As a child living in a low-income home with a single mother, DiGrazia and her two siblings were ready to spend a “tough Christmas.” “My mom was trying to make a living, and we were looking for a way to get presents for the kids,” she recalled. He told her to write a letter asking Santa for two things and give Santa a few chances.

“The only thing I can think of is an alarm clock because I didn’t have one, or we didn’t have a TV or a radio at home, so we didn’t have a radio,” DiGrazia said. “When I opened my gift, there was an alarm clock. That was my wish, and I really kept it for a long time. ”

This gift made an unforgettable impression on DiGrazia, who paid for it as a volunteer for the last six years. Operation SantaWith a history of 107 years, the United States Postal Service receives hundreds of thousands of Santa letters from children to those who wish to comply with their requests.

Today, DiGrazia and its nonprofit Santa Knights receive more than 400 letters each year, personally shopping, wrapping and handing out gifts to children in the New York City area. “It’s a way of constantly reflecting the magical feeling of Christmas in my life and remembering that childhood,” DiGrazia said. “Being a part of this technique is a truly extraordinary experience. I want to help again every year. ”

Director Dana Nachman first heard about the Santa operation through Deborah Halverson’s 2013 book, Letters to Santa, which coincided with the centenary. “I used to read it to my kids every year and I fell in love with the story,” she said.

After playing with the idea of ​​adapting it to the film for several years, Nakman obtained USPS approval to show the inside of the operation. “Dear Santa,” and now on demand and in some theaters. The heartwarming documentary shows behind-the-scenes scenes of some generous strangers visiting to relieve Santa’s burdens, including strangers who have been attending Jamie Truby, a postman in Chicago, California, for a decade.

Jamie Trump

Jamie Truby, a postal operator in Chico, California, has been involved in the U.S. Postal Service’s Santa Operation program for 10 years.

(IFC Films)

“It’s something that goes from carrier to carrier,” he said. For the past four years, Trubi has been purchasing and wrapping items, and last year delivered more than 160 gifts and about 40 letters from Santa (his colleagues provide financial support and distribution assistance).

“At Christmas, I am [give] Gifts to carriers and truckers knock on every door with this wrapped gift – that’s what Santa Claus said, ”he said. “Children” How did you know? “They’re so excited. Parents often don’t know we’re doing it. They’re like, ‘Oh my God, I never thought the letter would go anywhere.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, yeah.’ He did. ”

“I wanted to tell this story [seven] years, ”said Nahman. “I thought it was weird, but it’s never been this way. I wanted to write this movie with a love letter to the United States Postal Service, and it’s really fun [appreciation] When they need it most. ”

Despite growing up as a Jew, the filmmaker has been close to Christmas since he was a child, visiting a local Santa mall with his mother. “I didn’t think Jewish kids would do that because my mom used to take me every year,” he said with a laugh. “We never had a Christmas tree or anything, but every year he would ask me for something [go see Santa]. ”

Film director Dana Nachman

Dana Nachman has long wanted to document USPS ‘Operation Santa.

(IFC Films)

Every December since 2013, Nachman has been reading to his children thinking about the cinematic possibilities of “Letters to Santa,” but “you can’t call the U.S. Postal Service during their busiest week,” he said. “Finally in 2018, I said,‘ Enough is enough. I just have to write them a letter and they will decide in March if they want to. ‘They wrote to me immediately. We talked for months, and they carried the chain and finally agreed.

“They had two serious issues,” he added. “First, I promised not to ruin Christmas for the children. I never had that intention. I love Christmas, and I wanted to make this family-friendly movie without spoilers. ”

Second, he talked about how USPS would scout participants without violating their privacy. “We had to come up with a plan that worked,” Nachman said. “I would see the letters after that [the USPS had redacted personal identifying information] so I would know nothing about the origin. Sometimes it is called by the name of a kid, and nothing else happens. ”

The boy sends a letter to Santa from Dana Nachman's house "Dear Santa" documentary.

The boy sends a letter to Santa from Dana Nachman’s documentary “Dear Santa.”

(IFC Films)

After selecting potential classes, USPS sends emails to parents explaining Nachman’s interest and his contact information. “If they had agreed to participate, we would have booked the planes,” Nachman said. “We had to go wherever they were.”

This included the filming of “North Pole” – “Fairy of Santa Claus.” “The elves aren’t very busy, so they really wanted us to do what we had to do and leave,” Nakman said. “But it was amazing to see how all the letters came in and were classified.”

Nachman hopes the film will inspire more people to receive emails – the program is being held nationwide for the first time and is only available online due to COVID-19 restrictions – and will probably help restore confidence in humanity during a difficult time. “If [the movie] It just brings you joy, happiness and those good feelings, and it’s wonderful, ”he said. “But over the last few years, I’ve had a hard time feeling patriotic. When I was making this movie, it brought me back to that feeling.

“Most of the characters in this film are USPS employees. I am very proud to follow these people, because I think they are very patriotic. They are helping people change vacancies in their spare time, I think it’s very American. So I hope people seem to remember America better. ”

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