It’s been a hectic but busy couple of days for several of us here at The Daily Sentinel as we prepare for the annual Letters to Santa section that will be published on Christmas Day.

It is tedious work typing hundreds of letters, especially when Word is auto-correcting spelling errors and you don’t want it to. The program also corrects capitalization, which isn’t good when the object is to type it like it’s written.

All across the office, you can hear people laughing and oohing and aahing as they read and type the letters from children from throughout Jackson County.

While the weather outside hasn’t been frightening the spelling by the younger kids has been atrocious (don’t worry mom and dad, they’ll get it eventually — most have got the sound right but just have to learn the rules). The letters have been sent in by individual moms and dads and from wonderful teachers at almost every school in the county who have taken the opportunity to use writing a letter to Santa Claus as a teaching tool.

The letters (one of Santa’s elves has picked them up from our office) are the personal work of students. In reading them you can just imagine the children trying to pick just the right word or correct phrase to impress Santa Claus.

In some of the letters you can almost imagine the child’s personality. Some are timid. Others are brazen, bold. Some might be described as polite and caring. The kids approach Santa differently. A few do so conversationally, others in a questioning manner and there are those who are almost apologetic for writing a letter to the Jolly Old Elf.

One, from a little boy, revealed he is probably a bit mischievous. He started with a question, “Am I on the naughty or nice list?” And the rest of the letter is like he’s trying to make up for a year’s worth of pranks and tantrums.

There are the cute ones. One little boy inquisitively asked, “Are you an Alabama fan?” If so, Roll Tide — Ho! Ho! Ho!”

There’s others that will break your heart knowing children might not get their wishes this Christmas. And, there’s the one from a little girl who wants her mommy out of jail and home for Christmas.

Yes, Christmas represents love. It is about people generously sharing their time, talents and wealth. It is about giving and spending time with family and friends. It is about making memories and putting other’s need first.

Christmas is about faith in things unseen but explainable. It’s about joy and a satisfying peace that, just maybe, is always there but is harder to find the rest of the year. If only the world could see Christmas with childlike wonder and faith and live it all year long.

You won’t want to miss this special section. It will make you laugh. It will make you sad and the letters, written from the heart, will make you think.

In a religious sense, Christmas is the hope the world rests on. One young third grader got to the very heart of the holiday . In a P.S. she wrote, “I know what Christmas is really about; love, giving and the gift God gave us, Jesus Christ.”

Merry Christmas.

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