By MADDY VITALE
Ocean City has a direct line to Santa Claus … well, a mailbox at least, where kids may write to Saint Nick to tell him what they wish for under the tree.
Santa’s Mailbox is at Ninth Street and Asbury Avenue in the downtown and its presence is a tradition that began decades ago by the retail merchants and then was passed onto Santa’s helpers — the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“Santa’s Mailbox in Ocean City is for children from all over the region who visit Ocean City during the holiday season,” explained Michele Gillian, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce.
Over the years, there have been some interesting requests on the kids’ Christmas wish lists, Gillian noted.
“We’ve been told so many funny stories about what children would like,” she said.
There are the games and toy requests that are not out of the ordinary. Kids often ask for their favorite Barbie dolls, Legos or games.
But then there are these requests:
- Game nights at home with no fights
- Spa days in New York City
- Tickets to concerts
As Christmas nears, more and more children and their families will be stopping by Santa’s Mailbox to slip in a letter with Christmas wishes — destination North Pole, of course.
Across from City Hall, on the sidewalk next to Mark Soifer Park, is the special white mailbox with red and green trim and the words “Santa’s Mailbox” painted on it to hold the letters and children’s lists.
Gillian noted that the old-fashioned letter writing offers nostalgia for some and serves as a reminder that tradition is very important in the family friendly resort.
While some of the kids’ requests are humorous, there are others that warm Gillian’s heart, she said.
“What is always surprising are the kind words they use with Santa and the promises to always do the best they can,” Gillian said.
She then responded to a letter writer’s question: “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus in Ocean City!”
For even more Christmas fun with Saint Nick, there will be photos with Santa on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7 and Dec. 8, from noon to 3 p.m. at the Ocean City Music Pier.
The cost is $10 per photo. For more information, call 1-800-BEACH-NJ. There is also “Breakfast With Santa” at local restaurants.
For more information about Ocean City and the Chamber of Commerce, visit www.oceancityvacation.com.