One of 'Santa's helpers' shares his 32 years of answering children's letters

OSWEGO (WSYR-TV) - For the past 32 years, on the same mail route in Oswego, Larry Woods has been delivering letters and packages for the U.S. Postal Service.

While it’s a demanding job year-round, Woods says someone asks him to work even harder around Christmas time – Santa Claus.

“It’s not just me – there are letter carriers and postal workers all over the United States that work for the Postal Service that helps Santa with the letters,” Woods shared.

Woods says Santa reached out to the Post Master General years ago for extra help answering many letters from all the good boys and girls.

“They all go in a mail sack to the North Pole every night but when it gets close to Christmas – the mail volume just picks up so much that Santa Claus can’t quite handle it all so he’s asked us, as postal workers and letter carriers to help," Woods explained.

As one of Santa’s helpers, Woods says he’s read and answered thousands of letters and he’s seen quite a number of fun questions from children.

“A lot of kids ask about Rudolph and the reindeer and it’s surprising how many kids know all the reindeers’ names,” Woods said. “They ask about the reindeer. They ask about Mrs. Claus.”

Since he has been delivering mail on the same route for 32 years, Woods say he has seen many boys and girls grow up.

Many families invite him to the weddings of the same children writing letters to Santa year after year.

Over the years, he has also seen the change in toy trends.

“I remember one year when Elmo was the big item for Christmas,” Woods said. “A few years later they’re asking for a laptop.”

However, for Woods, some are just unforgettable.

“One letter that I got probably 20 years ago that I won’t ever forget – a girl sent a letter to Santa saying that, ‘I don’t need anything for Christmas but could you send a check to my mom?’” Woods said. “And Santa, he called me back the next day and asked me to take special attention to this one and we made it work. The mom got her check and proof that there is a Santa Claus.”

Woods says the little girl’s family was going through some tough times when she sent that letter. Her mother sent a “thank you” letter to Santa in return.

Woods says it’s not uncommon for Santa to call on others for help. Like the USPS pitching in this time of year, Woods says we can’t forget how the U.S. Air Force does its part to make the holiday merry and bright with the North American Aerospace Defense Command tracking Santa’s delivery route.

Growing up in Oswego, Woods says Christmas was always an exciting time and now, for his family of four, the spirit and cheer are just as bright.

The Woods family home is decorated with Christmas décor from top to bottom.

The family dog, Livvy, a nine-year-old rescued Golden Retriever, also sports a Christmas sweater for the holidays.

“He always made Christmas exciting for us and to know he gets to make it special for other people is really nice,” said Sophie Woods, Larry’s daughter. “He definitely makes a lot of people happy and think it’s great that we have had parents that raised us with that example.”

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