LANCASTER, Pa. (NBC) – Erika Rothermel, the ‘head elf’ at the Lancaster, Pa. VisionCorps, is busy as usual during the holiday season.

An added, joyful task – helping to answer special letters to Santa – ones written by children in Braille.

“It’s a long-standing tradition that people have been doing for years, but opening it up to the blind and visually impaired population is pretty new,” Rothermel said.

Writing letters to Santa is a holiday tradition for many kids, but it’s not easy for everyone, particularly for the blind and visually impaired.

Last year, VisionCorps invited children, and children at heart, to start sending their holiday wish lists to the organization.

“The children write a Braille letter to Santa, and I will hand the letter off to Santa personally. I will check his Braille. I will check it twice,” Rothermel said, laughing.

She said it doesn’t matter when people send their letters to Santa. She’ll make sure all letters get an answer.

“We wanted it to be when you have the time, send it,” Rothermel said. “It’s a good opportunity to practice, and we didn’t want to limit that.”

The feedback has been great.

“People that are blind or visually impaired find it as an opportunity to be included and people that aren’t blind and visually impaired just think it’s a really cool tradition to start,” Rothermel said.

She hopes the tradition grows.

“It’s very exciting to know that we’re part of something so big,” she said.

If you want to send a letter to Santa in Braille:

Letters to Santa (Erika Rothermel, head elf)


244 N. Queen St.

Lancaster, PA 17603