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Lynda Hacker addresses some letters to assist Santa Claus at the Myra Post Office recently. Hacker started with a handful children to send Santa’s mail to but now has 337 on the list.

MYRA — If Santa Claus keeps tabs on and visits every girl and boy in the world on Christmas Eve, that’s about 2.2 billion children.

That’s a lot of work, which doesn’t include keeping tabs on all the children, keeping a master list of who’s been naughty or nice, managing a workforce of thousands of worker elves and arranging for mall visits and other events.

Santa might need a little help. And that’s what the postmaster of the Myra Post Office thought four years ago when she first came to the town of about 90 people in western Cooke County. So she thought she would do what she does best for Santa — deliver his mail.

Postmaster Lynda Hacker, who is known in the Myra community for providing goodies and surprises for them and the elderly, thought she would “help Santa” by sending letters in his name to local children.

“My first year as postmaster I helped Santa send letters to the little customers of mine. This started with just 35 names,” she said. “I am now up to 337 small friends who receive a letter from Santa Claus ... It’s grown a lot since then!”

The envelopes come hand-addressed and with a Santa sticker on the return address corner.

One of the letters, signed by Santa, reads: “Dear Little Friend, I’m glad I got a chance to write you a letter! We have so much snow here at the North Pole that I was afraid the mail might be slow! The mailman is as quick as the reindeer!”

Several of the letters go on to describe how each of Santa’s nine reindeer (including Rudolph) are doing, and reminds the recipient that he and Mrs. Claus are watching and are looking forward to a Christmas Eve visit.

Hacker said she has a friend who prints the letters for her (and Santa), and she requests the assistance of her customers to bring in addresses of their children and grandchildren who might appreciate some pre-Christmas correspondence.

Any child 10 and younger are candidates for a letter from Santa, Hacker said.

The letters come postmarked from the Fort Worth Mail Processing Center, so the children do not assume it’s someone local writing the letter, Hacker added.

But it would be consistent with history if the letters were postmarked Myra. Santa Claus, whose real name is St. Nicholas, was originally from Myra — not Myra, Texas, but Myra, an ancient city in Turkey.

“St. Nick” as he is often called now, was the Christian bishop of Myra, famous for his generous gifts to the poor. Through the years St. Nick developed a reputation as a semi-anonymous benefactor for caring for the boys and girls of the world. Now he is thought to live somewhere at the North Pole.

It’s a similar commitment to the community that motivates Hacker to assist Santa in his letter-writing efforts as well as in continuing her career with the postal service.

“I am very proud to work as the Myra Postmaster and feel that I have the best customers,” she said. “My customers are special to me and my family.”

Hacker said she was notified of her appointment as Myra postmaster in December 2002, which she said was a Christmas surprise to her.

“This was the best Christmas present I received that year,” Hacker said, who has lived with her husband, Jim Hacker, in Myra since 1972. “We call this our home town.”

She worked for the U.S. Postal Service since 1988 and started working as a postmaster in 1999.

“I have never regretted working for the United States Postal Service — you have a great job with a super team of workers,” she said.

Bill Black, owner of Myra-based Black Electric and a regular customer of Hacker’s, said he appreciates all the effort his postmaster puts into helping Santa.

“She spends hundreds of dollars of her own money to do this each year,” Black said. “We’re all very proud of her.”

Reporter Andy Hogue may be contacted at andyhoguegdr@ntin.net

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