It turns out Santa Claus is really a gay couple living in New York.
Jim Glaub and Dylan Parker have been receiving letters addressed to Santa Claus at their apartment on 22nd Street for several years—even before Parker moved in. (Previous tenants told Glaub about the misdirected missives, which, at the time, amounted to a few a year.)
But in 2010, the number of letters to Santa ballooned—by Christmastime they had nearly 450 notes, all from needy families living in New York.
“These were our neighbors in the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan… these were our people,” Glaub tells People. “I just felt this need to help them.”
He also didn’t want to think what would happen if they didn’t.
“If we bring them back to the post office, are all the kids getting a letter back with ‘Return to Sender’?” I don’t want that to happen,” he told The New York Times.
So the couple, who married four years ago, decided they would do their best to answer all the letters and make these Christmas wishes come true. That first year, with help from friends and social media, they got 150 letters fulfilled.
In the years since, the letters have kept coming and they’ve kept answering them, even after they moved out of the apartment. Glaub and Parker now live in London, but have an arrangement with the current tenant to help collect the letters, and a friend locally scans each letter for recording.
And every letter gets fulfilled, thanks in part to a “Miracle on 22nd Street” Facebook group set up to help.
“It’s just so strange! It’s caused this global effort!” Glaub says. “We’ve had people from Hawaii to Alaska, Germany to London, Nicaragua, Abu Dhabi, Tokyo — all helping. I guess that’s the power of social media. Why would a woman from Abu Dhabi care about some family from Corona, Queens? It’s amazing.”
For Parker, it shows how “we are all looking for that connection to something bigger.”
Glaub and Parker still don’t know how their Manhattan address got mistaken for the North Pole, but they say they’ve stopped trying to figure it out.
The letter that moved Glaub the most was from a boy who asked for Santa to give him a new bed. “That was like a punch in the gut,” he recalls.
This season, the couple received more than 300 letters and counting, with about 50 that still need to be fulfilled. If you’re interested in getting involved, check out the Miracle on 22nd Street Facebook group.