"He's making a list, checking it twice, he's gonna find out who's naughty or nice" - eventually, Santa Claus is coming to town!

Youngsville, that is - the fastest-growing little town in Louisiana. And with all of those new families moving in, Santa is going to need to know where they now live.

Well, the Burgermeister who runs Youngsville was kind enough to see to it that a mailbox, specifically set up for wish lists, was installed right at the entrance to City Hall (just don't drop any toy ducks near him!).

And get this: the Burgermeister is so kind that he included a few "Letters to Santa" form letters for you to download, making it so easy for your kids to tell Santa what they would like for Christmas this year.

Smithsonian Magazine traces the origins of Letters to Santa back to the early 1800s, and it surprised me to learn that the letters weren't from the kids to Santa: they were from Santa to the kids!

According to the story, Santa would write letters to the children, outlining some of the behaviors they exhibited over the past year, imploring them to make certain that they clean up their act or "NO PRESENTS!!".

Youngsville City Hall via Google Street View
Youngsville City Hall via Google Street View
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The story goes on to say that the letters from Santa arrived on the hearth or mantle because, as we all know, that's how Santa gains entry to the home.

If we fast-forward to the 1860s or so we'll see that is when the postal service started to become much more streamlined. Postal carriers began delivering, and picking up, mail from door-to-door and, with the new affordability of the postal service, kids could begin to use it to get their wishes to Santa.

It was a cartoon (in Harper's Weekly) of Santa sorting mail into two piles - one from the parents of "good" children, one from the parents of "naughty" children - that spread the idea. Many people, until they saw that cartoon, had no idea that you could even send letters to Santa. Now the cat was out of the bag, and children from all over the country began to write the letters, hoping for jacks or bicycles or ponies or "an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle"! And Santa, as best as he could, began to deliver.

Initially, according to Smithsonian Magazine, the requests from children were very practical. The examples given in the story include a writing desk, prayer books, and "a stick of pomade" for "papa". (Pomade, back in the day, was THE product to use to style your hair!)

More recently, of course, less practical items are requested from Santa. Some are even downright dumb. Remember pet rocks? Remember parachute pants? How about lift kits for just the front of your truck?

Youngsville Police Department
Youngsville Police Department
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Okay, before I go off on that tangent, let's get back to the magic of Christmas: kudos to the good people running Youngsville for putting up that mailbox! Now parents and Santa can work together to make certain that the children have the best Christmas ever!

You'll find the mailbox at Youngsville City Hall, 305 Iberia Street (near the roundabout right under the water tower).

Merry Christmas!

Light Up 2021

The holidays have returned, and so have the decorations. From inflatables and flashing lights on the front lawn to decorated mantles and fireplaces inside, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Thanks to everyone who submitted photos for Light Up 2021. Everyone who submitted a photo is entered to win $500, even if the image that was submitted had technical issues and wasn't able to be included in the gallery. Now sit back, relax, and scroll through your neighbors' and friends' decorations for 2021.

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