For children who want to be extra certain their letters to St. Nick will be safely delivered to the North Pole in time for Christmas, Perch Home has the answer: a Santa mailbox.
"There was an old-fashioned red Santa mailbox in my hometown growing up and I always wanted one in Maplewood to bring my kids to," says Michele Bessey, who owns the shop on Highland Place.
Luckily, Bessey happens to have a handy elf in the form of her father, who built the charming red mailbox currently outside the shop.
"The letters will definitely be delivered to Santa Claus and if they have a return address they might get a letter in return from the North Pole," said Bessey. "We received our first letter to send along to Santa yesterday and it was perfect. A Maplewood child asked simply for their 'family to be happy.' That's what we want too!"
Bessey's talented father is also the craftsman behind the enchanting North Pole sign in the shop's front window. "It glows at night so you can see the snow fall," said Bessey. (The "snow" comes from a special machine hanging just inside the window, which makes for a truly magical experience.)
"After we close, we sometimes peer out and see little kids get excited and point at the window," she said. "It makes the whole staff ridiculously happy."
Bessey, who describes herself as a "total fool" for the magic of the holiday season, said, "Sometimes I think the Dickens Houses might be the real reason I moved here!"
Perch Home, which is a winter wonderland this time of year -- inside and out -- is open seven days a week during December and is participating in Moonlight Fridays, where Village shops stay open until 8 p.m.