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‘Colby Claus’ will lend hand to Santa

By Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(Nov. 30, 2017) It’s a poorly kept secret that Santa and Ocean Pines Aquatics Director Colby Phillips are close friends.

Because of that close relationship, Phillips, for the fifth year, is helping St. Nicholas send letters to children throughout the community.

Anyone who sends an email with his or her mailing address to will receive a personalized letter from Santa.

Phillip said last week about 220 letters had already been prepared and would be mailed on Dec. 4. A second set will be sent on Dec. 15.

Her house is covered in glitter, she said,

“Six years ago, I was looking online to send [her daughter] Sadie a letter from Santa and it was $10! I thought, I will just do it myself,” she said.

During the first year, Phillips played Christmas elf for family and close friends.

“The second year I put it on Facebook and offered it to anyone. It kind of took off from there,” she said. “I average about 300 letters sent a year and most have more than one child on them, so I actually end up with over 500 names.”

Along with direct submissions, she also responds to letters received at the Ocean Pines Post Office.

“I pick up those as well, plus our Ocean Pines Recreation Department will reply to children leaving their letters to Santa at the community center,” she said. “They actually refer to me as Santa in the post office.”

This year, community members donated more than 300 stamps for the effort, as well as Christmas paper, envelopes and stickers, she said.

“So many people in the community have thanked me for doing this, but the impact it has on my heart and soul is hard to describe,” Phillips said. “If for one moment a child somewhere can be lost in the magic and feel that joy when they open the letter, that’s why I do it. I just love their innocence. Children can really teach us about faith and believing in what we can’t see.”