Letters to Santa: How A Christmas Miracle Was Born Out of A Wrong Address
Nine years ago, the couple living on West 22nd Street received a flurry of mysteriously addressed letters from needy local families often seeking toys, warm clothing and basic necessities. By 2010, it was an avalanche of letters. What they've done with this little mistake is a true Christmas miracle.
It is the most wonderful time of the year to make the perfect mistake.
Nine years ago, Jim Glaub and Dylan Parker received nearly 400 letters addressed to Santa at their New York City apartment — for no apparent reason.
A post shared by Miracle On 22nd Street (@miracleon22ndstreet) on Jun 20, 2019 at 3:57am PDT
Letters to Santa are wrongly addressed each December to an apartment on West 22nd Street in Manhattan's Chelsea neighbourhood, far from the North Pole.
A post shared by Miracle On 22nd Street (@miracleon22ndstreet) on Nov 25, 2019 at 1:44pm PST
At first the couple received a flurry of the mysteriously addressed letters from needy local families often seeking toys, warm clothing and basic necessities. By 2010, it was an avalanche.
A friend suggested that the letters be given to volunteers who wanted to fulfill the requests, like real-life elves, Glaub said. Thus, a charity known as the Miracle on 22nd Street was born.
A post shared by Miracle On 22nd Street (@miracleon22ndstreet) on Jul 11, 2019 at 5:15pm PDT
"It's about being bigger than yourself and giving back," Glaub said. "And it feels so good."
Just how the West 22nd Street address came to be known as Santa's abode remains a mystery.
Some speculate it is tied to 19th century writer Clement Clarke Moore, who was widely credited as the author of the poem that became known as "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" and who lived in the surrounding Chelsea neighbourhood.
In the decade since the nonprofit organization was founded, both misfortune and kindness have snowballed in the United States, Glaub said. Families from almost every U.S. state now appeal to the charity for holiday help and elves from all over the world have been linked with them to respond to their wishes.
Last year the organization, which partners with other foundations, received 500 letters - some typed, many handwritten and illustrated.
And while the couple has moved out of the apartment, the charity continues to gather the Santa letters and coordinates with volunteers to fulfill holiday wishes.
A post shared by Miracle On 22nd Street (@miracleon22ndstreet) on Dec 13, 2019 at 5:24pm PST
Now the heartwarming tale is on its way to the big screen, optioned by Universal Pictures and Tina Fey, and expected to debut in 2020.
The newest occupant of the West 22nd Street apartment, Meredith McKernan, 22, a model, said it was uplifting to see so many people helping others and to know they are still able to remember the innocence of childhood, no matter how old they are.
"Everyone believed in Santa at one time," McKernan said.
The address mixup is as comforting as it is confounding, Glaub said.
"Hundreds and hundreds of people have stepped up to say, 'I want to help. I can do this. I can help my neighbour,'" Glaub said. "It gives me a lot of hope."