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'Dear Santa Claus'

U.S Air Force Staff Sgt. Cody Howk, a 354th Operations Support Squadron weather forecaster, folds a letter from Santa, Dec. 16, 2015, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Howk helped open the letters to Santa Claus and took the pre-addressed envelopes and filled them with a letter from Santa as part of “Santa’s Mailbag.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cassandra Whitman/Released)

U.S Air Force Staff Sgt. Cody Howk, a 354th Operations Support Squadron weather forecaster, folds a letter from Santa, Dec. 16, 2015, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Howk helped open the letters to Santa Claus and took the pre-addressed envelopes and filled them with a letter from Santa as part of “Santa’s Mailbag.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cassandra Whitman/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Cody Howk, a 354th Operations Support Squadron weather forecaster, folds a letter Dec. 16, 2015, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. There are different letters to send to children who write to Santa. They do this in case of siblings, so each receives a different letter as part of “Santa’s Mailbag.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cassandra Whitman/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Cody Howk, a 354th Operations Support Squadron weather forecaster, folds a letter Dec. 16, 2015, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. There are different letters to send to children who write to Santa. They do this in case of siblings, so each receives a different letter as part of “Santa’s Mailbag.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cassandra Whitman/Released)

A stack of pre-addressed envelopes sits on the counter waiting to be filled with a letter from Santa, Dec. 16, 2015, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Children from all over the world send their Christmas letters to Santa and they end up at the 354th Operations Support Squadron weather flight. Members from the weather flight open the letters and send letters back to the children as part of “Santa’s Mailbag.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cassandra Whitman/Released)

A stack of pre-addressed envelopes sits on the counter waiting to be filled with a letter from Santa, Dec. 16, 2015, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Children from all over the world send their Christmas letters to Santa and they end up at the 354th Operations Support Squadron weather flight. Members from the weather flight open the letters and send letters back to the children as part of “Santa’s Mailbag.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cassandra Whitman/Released)

A child decorated the outside of her letter to Santa, which was received by the 354th Operations Support Squadron weather flight Dec. 16, 2015, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Children from all over the world send their Christmas letters for Santa to the weather flight. The weather flight members act as Santa’s helpers and send letters back as part of “Santa’s Mailbag.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cassandra Whitman/Released)

A child decorated the outside of her letter to Santa, which was received by the 354th Operations Support Squadron weather flight Dec. 16, 2015, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Children from all over the world send their Christmas letters for Santa to the weather flight. The weather flight members act as Santa’s helpers and send letters back as part of “Santa’s Mailbag.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cassandra Whitman/Released)

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- During the holiday season, members of the 354th Operations Support Squadron's weather flight receive hundreds of letters addressed to the jolly man himself.

Acting on behalf of Mr. Claus, the weather flight elves open the letters from children all over the world. Wish lists, season's greetings and drawings come from children big and small; each are opened to reveal the wishes of the heart.

"It's a great way to boost morale," said Master Sgt. Melody Goode, the 354th OSS weather flight chief. "It's great to spread the good will and cheer of the holidays to the children of the world."

"Santa's Mailbag" was started in 1954 by a group of men with the 58th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron when they decided to help respond to letters addressed to Santa received by the post office. More than 60 years later the program is still going strong.

Those wishing to send letters may mail them to the following address:

Santa's Mailbag
2827 Flightline Ave. Suite 100B
354th OSS/OSW
Eielson AFB AK 99702-1520

Nothing is required to send with the letter, but donations and a pre-addressed and stamped envelope are greatly appreciated to help defray the cost and keep Santa's Mailbag going for another 60 years.

If letters are received after Christmas, the weather flight sends "late post" letters explaining that Santa was busy, but he still received their list.