"Dear Santa, My name is Eddie, and I live in Oakland, California. My mom says that oversleeping can get me on the bad list, so I want to say I'm sorry for that. It's just that my bed is really, really comfy!"
"Dear Santa, I am 6 years old. I've been helping my mom every day to clean my room and brush my teeth. I don't like it a lot, but I want to be on your nice list. Love, Alexandra."
"Dear Santa Claus, The jacket was too big. Would you please send me another? The tie was too long. I did not get any doggy treats for Ivory. The buttons on the vest were too big and too tight. I did not get a hat! Or any shoes or socks. Thank you for all my other gifts. Love, (Name excised at writer's discretion)"
Once upon a time, letters like these ended up in the U.S. Postal Service's dead letter office. But for the past 28 years, they have gone instead to the consumer affairs department at the main Oakland Post Office on 7th Street, where the public is invited to read and, if you like, answer them.
"You don't have to send a gift," says MaryGrace Cruz, USPS Consumer & Industry Contact Manager. "The children appreciate just knowing that somebody out there cares."
But, of course, if you're moved to send a present, too, nobody's going to stop you. To get in on the fun, call the Santa's Mailbag hotline at 510-874-8737 and leave a message, and one of Santa's elves will call you back.
In the meantime, here's what our kids want this holiday season:
"Dear Santa, My big brother is writing this because I'm still in my mom's tummy, but I will be out before you know it. I will be born around the first of January, It would be helpful if you could get me some baby clothes and baby shoes and toys if you can. Sinsirely, Cristobal."
"Dear Santa, My name is Emmie. I am 6 years old. Ive been really good this year. I will like to have a dress from the movie Frozen. It’s the blue dress Ella has. I love Frozen things. And if you want to bring my little brother something, you can, but he's not really good."
"Dear Santa, My name is Brianna. I'm 8 years old, but my birthday is December 25, so I'm happy that it's almost my birthday. I'm really happy because I have a new baby brother! He's just 3 months old and I want you to bring him a toy because he does not know how to talk or write. I have really good grades in school, and I am always good at my house. Love, Brianna. P.S. Don't forget about my little brother!"
"Dear Santa, My name is Luis. I am 9 years old. I am visualizing you reading this letter. I hope that this Christmas you can bring me something. I ask my mother, but she cannot buy me anything. Her money won't stretch or is not enough. I would like a tablet to do my homework. Also Santa, you know I love to sing. I would very much like a karaoke machine to sing along with. I also send this letter for my mom. She cannot afford to buy for my big brothers either. So if you could buy something for them it would be very nice. They are in school right now so I can't ask them what they want. Well that is all Santa. God bless you Santa. Love, Luis."
"Dear Santa, I have a question. I saw you last Friday. Was that you or do you send out helpers? (Unsigned)
"Dear Santa, I was wondering if you could do me a BIG, BIG favor. You probably can't, but I was wondering if you could help me. You see, whenever I get something, I lose it. Like my camera. I was hoping you could bring it back this year in its case. I also lost the pocket knife you gave me last year. Can you help me find it? If you do, put it on the bench by my window. Love, Scott."
"Dear Santa, I think I was good this year because I haven't got into trouble that much. An oops slip is a slip of paper that means you didn't do your homework and I haven't got an oops slip this year. I think I deserve presents because I am playing a sport and if I am playing a sport it means I am doing well in school. I am a good brother because I help him when he is stuck with something and help him when he needs help. I am a good son because I help my mom when my dad is not home and I help my dad when my mom is not home. I am a good uncle because I take care of Maddox. I hope you agree I am on the nice list this year." (Unsigned)
"Dear Santa, How are you doing today? I hope everything is great and that you're reading my letter. J I really hope you're reading this and I also hope to hear back from you! Sorry to be bothering you. I know you are busy, but it would be so great if I get a gift this Christmas because my mom isn't working at the moment so it's hard for her to get me something which is fine because I understand her situation. I hope to hear back from you and have a wonderful Christmas! Love, Lupita."
"Dear Mr. Clause, Since you've been watching me I think you already know what I want. But just in case, I'm enclosing a list of what I want. A star next to it means I want it a lot." (No signature)
"Dear Santa, I only want a few things this year. I would like to have the Kaya American Doll, even more stuffed animals, and a book of activities. I wish I could get you a gift in return, but I don't know what you want. Maybe you could send me a note that says what you want on it. Have a good Christmas! Love, Vivian."
"Dear Santa, I'm going into surgery for a tumor on my spine before Christmas. For my present, I would like to be here for Christmas. I know it is an unusual gift, but it would mean the world to me and my family. Love, Maika."