Operation Santa makes Christmas wish come true for South Sound family

VIDEO: Operation Santa grants wish for Olympia girl

David Smith didn’t believe.

“I didn’t think stuff like this happened.  It was unreal for us,” Smith said.

After a tough year, which resulted in the Olympia dad not going back to work and his wife’s hours cut at her job as a dental hygienist, David Smith was worried when his 8-year-old daughter, Alexis Smith, wrote out her Christmas list.

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“At the top of the list was a Barbie Dream House. And we knew we wouldn’t be able to afford that for her this year, so we tried to break it to her that it was going to be a little too expensive for us this year,” David Smith said.

But Alexis knew she’d been good.

“She looked at us all happily and told us, ‘Don’t worry. I’m going to ask Santa for that gift, and I will get it, so you guys don’t have to worry about the cost of that gift.’ And we’re all like, ‘Great. Oh, you know. Here we go,’” Smith added.

So Alexis and her 3-year-old brother, Crew Smith, wrote out their letters to Santa and sent them off in the mail.

Soon, gifts showed up.

“We thought for sure a family member sent them, and we started calling around and asking our family, and no one knew anything. So then we were kind of confused. So we waited for our daughter to go to sleep that night. We decided we’d open them up, peek and rewrap them and see what they were,” David Smith said.

To their surprise, there was the Barbie Dream House along with other toys. There was also a letter, which showed Santa came through after all. Operation Santa, that is.

“We were just overwhelmed,” David Smith said.

Operation Santa is a program through the United States Postal Service. It allows people to “adopt” letters from children and anonymously fulfill their wish lists. This year, for the first time in its 108-year history, USPS posted all the letters on its Operation Santa site and opened up the program so that people across the country could help children wherever they live. Almost 24,000 letters were adopted this year.

“It was really amazing. We couldn’t believe it happened, and I just wanted to share and give thanks to hopefully whoever did this for us,” Smith said.

It also re-instilled his belief in the magic of Christmas.

“In times like now, it gives me a lot of hope for our future,” Smith said. “This experience makes me want to give to other families more. It made me feel like we could do more to help.”