When Jim Glaub and Dylan Parker moved into their Manhattan apartment on 22nd Street in 2010, they were forewarned that they may find themselves the recipients of a ‘couple’ of letters addressed to ‘Santa Claus’. They were not, however, prepared for the flurry of Christmas wishes with which they were inundated over the festive period. 

By December, they had – much to the postman’s dismay – received hundreds of letters! The contents of the letters varied from simple Christmas present requests to more heartfelt outpourings of concern for family or community members. One particularly moving letter urged ‘Santa Claus’ to ‘keep in mind’ a local homeless man who lived under a nearby bridge. Others pleaded for fundamental utilities and food. 

Miracle on 22nd Street
Jim and Dylan have responded to thousands of letters sent to ‘Santa’. Photo credit: Jim and Dylan

Jim and Dylan were stirred into action by the tenderness of these Christmas wishes and undertook the not-inconsiderable task of replying to each letter. Before long, they were not alone; during a 1960s-themed party hosted by the couple in the holidays, their friends had inquired as to where the substantial pile of letters had come from. Once Jim and Dylan explained, many of them jumped at the chance to help, and each person was coupled up with a letter writer.

Ten years on, there are now over 2000 letters to which they have responded collectively. Whilst Jim and Dylan no longer occupy the Manhattan apartment, they have subsequently established a non-profit organisation called ‘Miracle On 22nd Street’ which seeks to provide much-needed Christmas presents for those who cannot afford them. The organisation offers philanthropists the chance to act as ‘elves’ and send gifts to struggling families. 

Currently living in London, the pair now hope to expand their charitable work across the Atlantic. Perhaps next year could see similar endeavours being made closer to home?

It is still not known why the apartment on 22nd Street receives these letters addressed to ‘Santa Claus’. There have been speculations: one theory links it to Clement Clarke Moore – writer of ‘The Night Before Christmas’ – who resided in the area during the nineteenth century. But essentially, as Jim and Dylan have come to believe, it is not the origin of these letters that matters so much as the generosity they have since inspired. 

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About Author

Katie Davies is a History Masters student at UCL, whose current interests in journalism are rooted in the necessity of disseminating positive news at a time when it is more important than ever.

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