Santa Claus is coming to town. Well, actually, he is already here. A direct link to St. Nicholas is in Roselle Park right on 718 Chestnut Street.
We live in a time when most of how we communicate and know the world is through the intangible. The days of letter-writing – of actually putting pen (or pencil) to paper – are few and far between. DMs, Facebook posts, tweets, e-mails, and texts are the norm. Even this newspaper uses technology to provide information, never having printed a single paper edition.
Today, many children are more familiar with typing and swiping than they are with a pencil.
But even now there is something magical about taking time to sit down and write a letter to someone: a friend, a family member, Santa Claus.
The Vitale’s understand the importance of connection. Even as the family fights along side their youngest son who was diagnosed with pediatric cancer, Alfred Vitale and his wife Kimberly decided to do something different for the season.
They put a big red mailbox in front of their house and invited neighbors near and far to drop off their letters to be sent to the North Pole.
Although the family will try to send a reply before Christmas, I can personally attest to the fact that just having our two littlest ones have a place that connects right to Santa Claus in town was more than enough of an excitement.
Last Sunday evening, after the snowfall that gave everything in Roselle Park a picture postcard quality, our two youngest were filled with jubilance as they wrote down their letters to Santa. After dinner, we drove by the Vitale household in pajamas and winter jackets. As they approached the mailbox, their joy turned into sheer wonder. Dropping their envelopes of calligraphy only a five- and seven-year-old could understand, they were beaming, looking at ‘the house that knows Santa’. One of them even tried to peek in the window to see if the Big Man was there.
Little did they know that in the most significant of ways, Santa Claus was in the house. Not in the typical red suit and white beard, but in the form of a family who, while personally dealing with the hardest of challenges, open their home and hearts to bring joy to the world . . . right here in Roselle Park.