This holiday doc represents the spirit of giving, not receiving.
“Dear Santa” is the new documentary on the 100-year-old tradition called “Operation Santa,” which has the United States post Office dedicated to reading children’s letters and making their dreams come true. This is a doc made for children and their parents, so don’t expect the mailman to crush their dreams or throw them in the trash, because that’s not the world we live in. This is a nice movie about nice people, and that’s nice.
Not every wish can come true (after all you can’t expect Santa to give you a Pony for Christmas), people intend to respond to wishes that are doable. Something more realistic and not so expensive. Nobody is cheap; but not everything is free. That we should acknowledge.
Most of the interviews come from children from various places, who express their love and affection for St. Nick. In this movie, we see some kids wanting puppies, one wanting a rabbit, one wanting a limousine ride like in the movies, and one wishing to be accepted and loved for being gay. And others wish to thank Santa for everything he tries to do, and sometimes, they ask for nothing, but a happy Christmas with their families. No brats are needed, and that’s refreshing.
As a matter of fact, the kids are even involved with Operation Santa by finding gifts in stores and delivering them to the post office. And sometimes, the ones who got presents from Operation Santa want to return the favor.
For example: there is a man who wanted a radio and an alarm clock for Christmas, and got a combo. Now, he wants to help in any way he can. His name is Damion, and he’s known as an Adopter Elf. He wasn’t that successful at first, but being that this is the season, a miracle happens.
Even adults write letters to Santa asking him for supplies to make their lives better. After all, not all families are prosperous. They have struggles, and want to raise their kids. For example: the 2018 California fires destroyed more than 11,000 homes, and Hurricane Sandy washed out home, and peopled needed new places to live. That’s why there was also a “Pay It Forward” program.
The scene that brought tears to my eyes in “Dear Santa” is when the kids who asked for a puppy, gets one for Christmas. It reminds me of when my sister got a puppy, and the three joyous years we’ve had so far with her. Seeing this moment makes me emotional, and I’m glad these kids got their Christmas wish.
It may lag in certain areas, but I was easily moved by how writer/director Dana Nachman teaches audiences about this program, as a way to remind people to share the spirit of Christmas. It’s not a bout getting presents; it’s about giving joy. And that’s not covered in wrapping paper. What’s more important is that the people involved with Operation Santa get to see the looks on children’s faces when they receive their presents. When you see children happy, then you know you’re making their Christmas brighter.
In Select Theaters and On Demand This Friday