Santa Claus, Ind.'s `elves' answer kids' letters

SANTA CLAUS, Ind. (AP) - With Christmas approaching, the southern Indiana town of Santa Claus is again being inundated with letters from children from around the world.

And that wave of letters doesn't go unanswered. Each December, volunteers in Santa Claus answer more than 30,000 children's

letters, keeping alive a nearly century-old tradition.

Santa Claus Museum curator Sue Hurst says some of the kids' letters are amusing, while others show a greedy streak, asking Santa for a laundry list of toys.

The volunteers who reply never promise the kids anything, to avoid disappointing them.

The letter-answering tradition began in 1914 in the town about 35 miles east of Evansville.

By the 1930s, the town was getting so many letters the federal government suggested the town change its name to avoid the Christmas frenzy.

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