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Christmas past

‘Dear Santa’ letters returned after 50 years

Lisa Buie displays a letter her mother wrote on her behalf in 1964, when Buie was a child. WITN-TV recently reunited Buie with the letter.

A North Carolina TV station is reuniting its viewers with letters they wrote to Santa Claus more than 50 years ago.

In 1964, WITN asked children to submit letters to Santa, which he read on air with help from Whitney the Hobo, the station’s children’s show host.

WITN staffers recently uncovered a box of 400 unread letters, and now the station is trying to return each note to the individual who wrote it.

“The general response when they hear we have their letter is shock. They can’t believe it,” said Kathryn Jessick, WITN’s digital content producer.

The station is posting names and addresses of the letter writers on its news site each day until Dec. 25. More than 70 people have claimed their letters so far.

Most people are claiming letters on behalf of a relative and are planning to surprise the person with the note as a Christmas present.

One viewer, Lisa Buie, claimed her letter, which was written by her mother, who has since died.

“I received my Santa letter today,” Buie wrote in an email to WITN. “As I opened the WITN envelope, I saw my mother’s handwriting. My heart sank and I cried.”

Buie added, “I would like to think that my mom made this possible. Thank you so much for finding these letters. I will have mine framed.”

Another woman, Becky Taylor, told WITN she still has the two dolls she requested in her letter. “I will keep [the letter] with the dolls for posterity,” she wrote.

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