LOCAL NEWS

Sandy mailman has holiday side hustle as Santa’s helper

Dec 9, 2023, 12:06 PM

SANDY — He has worked as a mailman for nearly four decades and knows his route on the Sandy bench by heart.

For the past 20 years, however, Ray Berrett has had a side hustle — for Santa Claus.

Santa’s attention this time of year is in high demand and even the Christmas wishes from one family can be a lot.

So when the letters to Santa stacked up in mailboxes, Berrett became Santa’s helper, scribing responses for the man himself.

“It’s a fun job, it’s a great job,” Berrett said Friday. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun.”

Berrett has seen all kinds of letters to Santa over the years, from boys and girls, good and bad with requests ranging from funny to sad.

“There are some sad ones,” Berrett acknowledged in an interview with KSL TV. “(There was) a little boy — and I remember the letter, it was a few years ago — who said, Santa, he doesn’t want any gifts, he just wants Santa Claus to take care of his mother in heaven, who passed away.”

The letters from Santa always came back on point, often hand-written and always heartfelt.

(Andrew Adams/KSL TV)

“’Try to remember that Christmas is a good time to tell your family and friends how much you really love them,” Katie Atkinson read from one response to her daughter’s letter, which she kept from years ago. “Please keep up the good work all year long and not just at Christmas time. Listen to your family and give them all a big kiss and a hug. Be good and always try to smile and always love your family. Believe in the Christmas magic. I do.”

Atkinson was moved.

“It’s really sweet,” Atkinson said. “My kids are teenagers and one of them is graduated from high school but we still read those every year and it still means a lot to our family.

The letters have also meant a lot to Berrett, who said he has written out hundreds for Santa over 20 years and as many as 150 in a single year. He noted the joy he has seen on the kids’ faces.

On Friday afternoon, one mom brought her young son out for a photo with Berrett because Saturday marked his final day on his route.

“Twenty years I’ve been doing the letters, and now it’s my time to kind of pass the torch a little bit because I’m retiring,” Berrett said.

Berrett urged others to always cherish that Christmas spirit that comes around once a year.

“Be kind to somebody and make a lot of joy for some of these kids,” Berrett said. “Believe in that Christmas magic, because it’s true.”

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Sandy mailman has holiday side hustle as Santa’s helper