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12月12日号 コロナ禍 不安な子供たちからサンタへ手紙

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WORDS 単語をチェック

slip
滑り込ませる
drop in
立ち寄る
infection
感染
Father Christmas
サンタクロース
care-giver
介護者
sign off ~
~で締めくくる
elf (pl. elves)
妖精
emotional toll
精神的負担
work (→wrought)
作る
palpable
明白な(後出 apparent も同意)
a deluge of ~
大量の~
pour into ~
~に殺到する
window into ~
~を知る手段
tender
優しい
respite
休息
(be) packed with ~
~でいっぱいである
tumult
騒動、激動
address to ~
~に宛てる
wend one's way
行く
secretariat (of workers)
(ここでは)事務局
slice open ~
~を切って開く
on someone's behalf
~の代わりに
weigh on ~
~に重くのしかかる
plea
願い
gadget
機器
COVID(-19)
新型コロナウイルス感染症
release
解放・救済するもの
 

Seeking Santa's Support   

Jim slipped a face mask inside the greeting card he sent to Santa from Taiwan. Alina, 5, asked in her Santa letter written with an adult's help that he please use the front door when he drops in, because the back door is reserved for grandma and grandpa to minimize their risk of infection.

"Dear Father Christmas," 10-year-old Lola wrote, "My mother is a care-giver and sometimes I am scared for her," signing off her handwritten letter with, "Take care of yourself Father Christmas, and of the Elves."

The emotional toll wrought by the pandemic is palpable in the deluge of "Dear Santa" letters pouring into a southwest France post office that sorts and responds to his mail from around the world.

Arriving by the tens of thousands, the letters, notes and cards are revealing windows into the tender minds of their young authors, and of adult Santa fans also asking for respite and happiness at the end of a year packed with sickness and tumult.

In theory, and often in practice, any letter addressed to "Pere Noel" — French for Father Christmas — and slipped into any post box around the world is likely to wend its way to the sorting office in France's Bordeaux region, which has been handling his mail since 1962. His secretariat of workers (who call themselves "Elves") spends November and December slicing open envelopes and replying to 12,000 letters per day on his behalf.

Once the first letters were opened at the secretariat on Nov. 12, it quickly became apparent how the pandemic is weighing on children, says chief Elf Jamila Hajji. Along with the usual pleas for toys and gadgets were also requests for vaccines, visits from grandparents and life to return to the way it was.

"The kids have been very affected by COVID, more than we think. They are very worried. And what they want most of all, apart from presents, is really to be able to have a normal life, the end of COVID, a vaccine," Hajji says. "The letters to Father Christmas are a sort of release for them." (AP)

[本文 - 349 words]

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