In an effort to provide alternative celebration dates for first responders and service members, Stephanie Davisson made her first "100% certified, Elf-approved" letter from Kris Kringle in 2018. The letters instruct children to remember the true purpose of Christmas: "the feeling we keep in our hearts."
Davisson, a mother of two boys, was inspired to write the letters because her husband Brett serves in the Army and is sometimes required to work on Christmas Day.
In a 2018 Facebook post, Davisson's letters went viral, eventually leading the Santa-tracking North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to release its own statement regarding Santa's "out of the ordinary" visits to the homes of kids with special circumstances. The big man was reportedly escorted through the night skies by NORAD jet fighters.
Thousands of parents have since reached out to Davisson, requesting she make personalized letters.
Although Davisson could not accommodate everyone, she decided to make a few extra letters for other types of families who could not celebrate on the traditional Christmas Day. She created templates for military members, first responders, flying families, and children of divorce.
This year, amid the surging coronavirus pandemic, Davisson added one for "hospital heroes" and also linked to a "Christmas Help" letter that requests toy donations from kids.
“When I updated for 2020, ‘hospital heroes’ just felt like the perfect title, given the year we’ve had and the sacrifices made by medical staff across the country – and world,” she told radio station KISS 95.1 FM on Thursday. “It’s nice to know we’ve been able to bring a little cheer to families, especially this year when so much has kept us apart.”
Davisson also told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Wednesday that the letters have helped raise money for the United Service Organizations.
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