‘My letters have even made non-believers believers:’ Belleville’s very own Santa replies to children’s notes

William Elvis Young of Belleville has portrayed Santa Claus for years and has started offering custom letters from Santa to children who write to him. William Elvis Young photo

He’s reading the note and checking it twice, Santa Claus is coming to town in Belleville this year.

Belleville resident William Elvis Young is penning custom letters from Santa to the children who write to him. A service he began offering in 2022, Young has received 300 inquiries this year alone for his personal letters to youngsters.  

“The reason why I started the custom letters from Santa is because the post office sends out the same letters every year and they don’t acknowledge what the kids have said,” Young told Quinteist.

“Sometimes kids don’t even get letters back.

“So, last year I started custom letters from Santa so everyone who writes to me gets a letter back. Not only do they get a letter, they also get a nice list certificate or, in some cases, a naughty list certificate.”

Young reads each letter twice and then crafts a response back to each child. He said the reaction from the community about his letters has been very encouraging.

“Everyone who has contacted me has thought this is such an amazing idea. I have even had people tell me my letters will be a new family tradition.”

Young’s Santa “roots” date back to 2010, when he began portraying the man in the red suit at primarily family events. “Back then I was doing mainly Santa visits for my family. Here we are 13 years later, and I have been doing home visits for seniors, I have done house visits, I have also been the Santa Claus for some government parties as well.”

What’s Young’s motivation for the custom letters from Santa? “The thing I enjoy the most is seeing and hearing about the joy my letters have brought to kids all over. When the children receive their letters, the moms and dads send me videos and pictures of how much joy my letters brought to their kids,” Young said. “My letters have even made non-believers believers.”

In his first year of custom letters, Young wrote 60 responses. This year he’s looking at penning about 200 letters – so far.

He typically charges $5 per letter. “Depending on people’s financial situation, I charge $5 for all the letters they need done for their kids or I charge $5 per letter. That covers ink and stamps.”

Children can still write to Santa courtesy of their parents or guardians reaching out to Young through his Facebook profile page – William Elvis Young.

“Santa always has time before Dec. 14 to do more letters.”

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