Children looking for the best place to drop off their letters to Santa Claus might want to consider one of the two Crown Ace Hardware stores here in town.

The local stores, 3530 Sweetwater Ave. and 1799 Kiowa Ave., have set up individual white mailboxes set off by large candy canes that the kids can use to drop off their letters.

Despite the first time promotion, only receiving 38 letters as of early Friday, store officials were thrilled just to be participating.

“We’re just trying to offer something fun,” said Julie Devin, marketing manager with Crown Ace Hardware. Crown is a family-owned Ace chain run by the Schulein family with 17 stores throughout Orange County, San Diego and southern California’s Inland Empire, along with the two Lake Havasu City stores.

Children who get their letters to Santa with a self-addressed stamped envelope into the store mailboxes by the end of the day Dec. 5 can get a response from Santa. A special North Pole postmark and seal will be part of the response, Devin said.

The hardware store on Kiowa Boulevard has received nearly all of the letters (36) so far, Devin said.

As one could imagine, the letters typically are direct with misspellings and heartwarming sentiments.

One letter said: “whant a big robot and a big robot gun.”

Other letter writers apologize for misspellings, tell Santa how much he is loved because he brings presents and hope everyone is on the “nice list.”

“We know we want to do this next year,” Devin said. But in the future, the stores might attempt to fulfill some disadvantaged children’s Christmas wishes as well, she added.

“As a family-run business, we hope to treat our customers as family,” said Crown Ace Hardware President Mark Schulein in a press release. “This is just one way we hope to provide something enjoyable and fun for the kids.”

The stores’ letters to Santa promotion will continue through the close of business Dec. 24.

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