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Operation Santa: A Family Dinner Table Talk

Letters To Santa

First Posted: 12/15/11 06:58 PM ET Updated: 12/16/11 10:09 AM ET

This week's Family Dinner Table Talk, from HuffPost and The Family Dinner book:

If you were wondering where Santa's elves are, it's the Post Office. Every year, they save millions of letters to Santa for people to pick up and help buy gifts -- and you might say these are the most important ones.

Many of the letters come from needy boys and girls, the kids who might not get any presents from their moms and dads. Since they know their parents don’t have the money to buy extra toys, bikes, clothes and more, they ask Santa. Sometimes the letters even come from the parents themselves because they want so badly for their children to get something special for Christmas, even though they themselves can’t afford to buy it.

We've included some of these letters below to look at. They can be really heart-wrenching to read, but, as we talked about last week in Table Talk, the holidays are about giving. That spirit starts with knowing more about what other people need.

It's easy to take part in Operation Santa. All you have to do is go to your local post office (click here for a list of participating post offices), pick out a letter, shop for something listed on that letter (even the smallest gift counts), and return the package to the post office. Along with Santa, they'll take care of the rest.

Questions for discussion:
  • Would you want to help out Operation Santa?
  • How would you feel if you met someone your age who couldn't get presents this year?
  • What's something else you can do to help a needy family during the holidays?

Elismarie, Mother Of 7
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In her new cookbook, The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family dinners offer a great opportunity for meaningful discussions about the day's news. "Dinner," she says, "is as much about digestible conversation as it is about delicious food."

We couldn't agree more. So HuffPost has joined with Laurie and every Friday afternoon, just in time for dinner, our editors highlight one of the most compelling news stories of the week -- stories that will spark a lively discussion among the whole family.

Click here to see last week's Family Dinner Download

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For more tips and recipes, check out The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time by Laurie David and Kirstin Uhrenholdt (thefamilydinnerbook.com).

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Filed by Sarah H. Lee  |