As an Adopter Elf Emeritus with USPS Operation Santa, Michael Muñoz is getting moment to breathe after a very busy holiday season. It was a letter received last November though, that helped Muñoz, (a queer Latino man himself), make one special child’s Christmas truly magical. Muñoz’s story and many others are showcased in Dear Santa, a new documentary by Dana Nachman about the hundreds of thousands of letters addressed to Santa each year, and the brigade of USPS Operation Santa workers and volunteers who tirelessly work to fulfill them. The film covers the history of the 100-year-old program and features some of the of the Santa helpers who make it their mission to fulfill holiday wishes contained in the scores of letters they receive.
— W42ST (@w42st) December 4, 2020
“Dear Santa, do you support the LGBTQ community and if you can speak to God, can you tell him I love him, and if he loves me for being gay?” the letter simply asked. While Munoz did not initially plan on volunteering with the organization this year, that very letter changed his mind. “I was heartbroken point-blank,” Muñoz told The Advocate. “Every year I read dozens of letters from children; some ask for toys, but most ask for clothes or presents for their moms as they can’t afford anything. What made this different and really difficult for me to read was that he didn’t ask for anything physical.”
Ima cry reading all these letters. Kids are so precious. I can’t.
— Nancy Cruz-Garcia 🇲🇽 (@Nancy_Cruises) November 22, 2020
It didn’t take long for Muñoz to galvanize friends to collect LGBTQ+ children’s literature to let this young man that, especially at Christmas, he is loved. went on to say “All he wanted was to know that he was loved and accepted. So how could I not answer his letter, being a queer Latino male who growing up had those same feelings? Within minutes I had texted a dozen or so of my family, chosen and blood, and we were off to the races to make it the biggest, gayest, love-filled Christmas he hopefully will remember forever!”
And if there are other LGBTQ kids who might be feeling the same way this young man felt, Muñoz simply says “Love and joy come in many forms, and sometimes it finds you and other times you have to find it for yourself,” he said. “There, unfortunately, will always be a bully or someone with something negative to say, but if you love yourself, give love, and spread love they can’t affect you. “Remember, Rudolph was different, bullied, and dare I say, unloved. But in the end, it was his differences that made him beautiful and a hero. Your differences are what make you unique and beautiful and no one can take that away from you.”
For more information about USPS Operation Santa check out their website