Film

‘Dear Santa’ Doc Features Garcia Family Who Lost Their Home in California Fire

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In the documentary Dear Santa, filmmaker Dana Nachman (Pick of the Litter) spreads a little holiday cheer by telling the story of Operation Santa, a program run by the United States Postal Service where volunteers help Santa by responding to the thousands of letters he receives from children across the country.

One of the children featured in the film is Victoria Garcia, a little girl who moved with her family to Chico, California, after her home burned down in Paradise, California, in 2018. The fire is considered one of the most destructive wildfires in the U.S.

During the Garcia family’s segment in the documentary, Victoria’s mother Leticia sits with her and reads the letter she helped her write to Santa.

“Dear Santa, this is Victoria,” Leticia reads. “I told mommy to help me write to you because I am still learning to write. We had to move to Chico now because the fire burned our house. I miss home. I want my bed and books to read with my mommy. I will make cookies and milk. They are just like the ones at Paradise.”

Later, Leticia, who is supporting their family by making and selling tamales, sits with her five kids at their new home in Chico, and counts her blessings. “I’m very grateful for my kids to have a home…and for our lives,” she says. “It could’ve been to where we didn’t have any Christmases.”

Once Victoria’s letter gets to the Operation Santa Center in Chico, the tears start to flow when Jamie Truby, letter carrier and head elf volunteer, listens to a fellow volunteer read the little girl’s letter to Santa. Truby mentions that after the fire, 40,000 people moved to Chico from surrounding areas.

“We’re still feeling the aftermath of [the fire],” Truby says. “With the Santa project this year, I just want to give a little extra attention to those [who] I know are from Paradise. I just feel like it’s my duty.”

Dear Santa is available in select theaters and on VOD Dec. 4.