A LeFleur East man claims he’s just doing his part to help Santa help children feel special this holiday season.

Eric Wood allows his property on Maurey Road to be used once a year as elves from the North Pole descend to install what’s labeled “Santa’s Outpost.” The beautifully decorated mailbox accepts letters to the big guy himself through the week before Christmas.

“I love the magic and wonder that fills the Christmas season,” Wood said. “We celebrate light, hope, joy, and everything that is good about humankind. (So) I wanted to have an outlet for my nieces and nephews and Godson to be able to write Santa and then hear back from him that was personal and accessible locally. The awe of seeing them put their letters in this magic mailbox was priceless. I was so glad that Santa agreed to have an outpost here.”

The box popped up first in 2017 and Wood said North Pole postal employees reported 50 letters. Thus far, Santa has received about 20 letters this year.

The process is priceless: kids drop an envelope with their letter to Santa into the mailbox and as long as there is a return address, Santa will write a personalized response that reminds the children that toys are wonderful but Christmas is about love, joy and being with the people we care about.

“Santa never promises gifts because the gifts they may get are a surprise that he wants them to have on Christmas morning,” Wood said. “Santa loves if parents include anything that Santa might need to add into their letters or if there is something Santa should know, or if they need special encouragements.”

While it is always best for kids to drop the letters off in person at the Outpost, Santa will also respond if letters get mailed to the property where the Outpost resides, care of Santa’s Helper at the Jackson Outpost to the North Pole at 4623 Maurey Road, Jackson, MS 39211.

Wood, who works with youth by day, said he is happy he can facilitate this process for Santa here in Jackson.

“If anything, I would hope that Santa allowing the Outpost will foster community, a renewed sense of wonder, and happiness during the Christmas season.”

There is no fee to receive a response from Santa. Parents can help clarify some of the youngest children’s letters if writing is difficult to read. Also, Santa has also been known to write a letter of welcome to newborns if their parents introduce them to Santa by letter.