By Jack Chavez, Staff Writer
(Oct. 13, 2022) As the year winds down and the time until Christmas season draws near, Berlin resident Colby Phillips is firing up the prep work for an 11th round of “Letters from Santa.”
After the addition of a coloring book dedicated to Peppermint, Santa’s newest reindeer, went over so well in 2021, this year Phillips said this year will focus on Gumdrop the elf.
“I try to build up the story every year and add to the excitement so it doesn’t get repetitive,” Phillips said. “The parents look forward to what Peppermint is up to and now, hopefully, it’ll be Gumdrop.”
Phillips thought up the Christmas-greeting campaign when her daughters were young and, seeing the joy and excitement that letters from Santa Claus brought the girls, she decided to spread that joy to others.
What started as a small community effort has now ballooned into a nationwide — even transatlantic — holiday tradition.
“The furthest I’ve sent a letter so far is to England, but we’ve sent letters all over the United States — but 60 percent of the recipients are still in this area,” Phillips said.
Ace Printing and Mailing in Berlin handles the coloring books and, because of the help of community donations, much of what Phillips does now is guide the process.
“It’s become kind of this community thing,” she said. “People donate funds to help with stamps, products, envelopes, labels, stickers, glitter (and more). That’s why we start now. It takes a while to get everything together.”
Over the years the target audience has grown — an adult can get a letter, too.
“I don’t leave anybody out,” Phillips said.
Looking toward the future, Phillips said she would love the opportunity to put Peppermint and Gumdrop into a children’s book.
“We could donate (the proceeds) to a local children’s charity,” she said. “That’s my ultimate goal.”
The support of the local area certainly helps.
“I want to thank the community as a whole because with the help … I usually don’t put in a dime,” she said. “It’s just my time, because of the donations and people donating funds to help with the project. I thank everybody for that.”
Anyone interested in a coloring book sent to a loved one, from Santa Claus, can email Phillips at email@example.com. Phillips asks that requests be sent by Nov. 15.
Donations can be sent to Ace Printing, made out to Santa Phillips. There is a Venmo account set up for the project, @santaphillips.