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The Then and Now of Santa Mail

If you think back, you have definitely written a letter to Santa at least once. I mean, how else was he supposed to know what you wanted for Christmas! You addressed your letter, added a stamp and trusted it with the mail service. Some years you heard back, other years you didn’t. That was okay though because deep down you always knew that your letter got safely delivered to the North Pole and into Mr. Clause’s hands. As you grew up and understood that your letters might not have made it to the North Pole you ask yourself, where did it actually go? Keep reading to find out the history and what it’s like today to write a letter to Santa!

Let’s Go way Back

In the 1820’s, children weren’t known to send letters to Santa. Parents would write to their children pretending to be St. Nick and discuss their behavior over the past year. It was a clever tactic to encourage kids to behave before he came with gifts and treats. When children started writing letters to the North Pole, they thought of creative and magical ways to send the letters along. For example, some kids were known to leave their written letters by the chimney, they would supposedly turn into smoke and go straight to the North Pole, into Santa’s chimney where he would receive the letters.

Processes Throughout Time

At first, any letters that were sent to the North Pole were returned to the sender, or sent to the Dead Letter Office because they were considered undeliverable. The post office didn’t get a great reputation for rejecting the letters, as it made them look like they didn’t believe in Santa Clause. Many charitable organizations wanted to take on the responsibility of responding to the letters, but there were concerns and many people questioned if this was the best use of the organization’s time and resources. The post office also distributed letters written to Santa to individuals to respond to for “philanthropic purposes.” The process for people responding to the letters was included into the Postal Laws and Regulations for a more secure and streamlined approach. Ensuring that certain personal information was not being abused.

The USPS finds a way to share the Christmas Spirit by Creating Greetings From The North Pole.

In 1989, The USPS gave St. Nick his own zip code and created a program called “Greetings from The North Pole.” This thought out system sends a response to children who write a letter to Santa and address it to the North Pole. The letter they receive looks as though it came directly from the North Pole. Parents and guardians can write a response letter and send it in with their child’s letter to Santa. From there, Santa’s helpers in Anchorage, Alaska will send the response letter to the child postmarked from the North Pole! For more details and information check out the Holiday News Page on the USPS website!

With all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, writing a letter to Santa is something that brings joy to many children. Looking back, we recognize all of the hard work that went into the early days of holiday mail, ensuring that the spirit of Christmas was kept alive. We’re thankful for all of our postal workers and Santa’s helpers who ensure our cards, gifts, and packages arrive on time during this time of year. We want to encourage everyone to thank your local postal worker this holiday season.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Your Friends at The Mailworks

 

Sources:

https://time.com/4147998/history-letters-to-santa-claus/https://about.usps.com/holidaynews/letters-from-santa.htmhttps://about.usps.com/holidaynews/operation-santa.htmhttps://about.usps.com/who-we-are/postal-history/santa-letters.pdf

Press Release, Tips, Trends, Updates

Industry Update: Paper Shortages

Current State of The Industry

Paper supply is vital to the health of the print and direct mail industry.  The COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend global supply chains and impact operations across all areas of business. The paper industry is no exception. Without this key resource, the expression “stop the presses” takes on new meaning, literally.

The good news is that the desire to reach consumers in their homes using direct mail has skyrocketed. Unfortunately, this combined with other factors has caused a worldwide paper shortage. 

This new reality has “sent shock waves through the industry and created a mad dash as printers fight for resources.”

How Did We Get Here?

Throughout the Pandemic, the need for personal hygiene products and packaging papers increased. Simultaneously, the demand for graphic arts papers decreased as companies marketed less during the shut down period. Mills adjusted their production lines to produce the products with the highest demand and sold “off inventory” for the lower demand products. 

When the economy reopened, demand for graphics arts papers surged! Mills are now facing the balancing act of producing  multiple product lines at record rates. Inventories are depleted and there just aren’t enough production hours to keep up with the current demand. Combine this with the nationwide labor shortages, import delays at our nation’s ports, and transportation logistic issues –  the situation has grown dire.  

This new reality has “sent shock waves through the industry and created a mad dash as printers fight for resources” says President and CEO of The Mailworks, Brianne Baggetta. The impending holiday season only makes securing stock especially difficult with the rise of online shopping,  as many mills have converted some to most of their manufacturing lines to make corrugated packaging papers.

 

What The Future Looks Like

Currently, there is not enough paper to meet the demand. Unfortunately, the market is not expected to return to normal until mid 2022 or even the beginning of 2023.

As a result, mills are tightening allocations (the amount of paper allocated to each customer). They are working with existing customers to try and get them a percentage of what they usually order. In addition, prices are raising across the board. These limitations put a heavy strain on most businesses’ ability to serve their clients, leaving them searching for alternatives to meet their needs.

Helena Nichols, Procurement Specialist at The Mailworks has been working around the clock to secure stocks, even if that means reaching out to new vendors. She’s had to think outside the box, saying “It’s broadened our perspective on how to source our supply needs. We are building new relationships with mills and paper distributors, strengthening our ties with current suppliers and more than ever, planning and communicating frequently. We are working to be more strategic than tactical when sourcing for supplies.”

Industry experts still recommend planning as far in advance as possible to secure deliveries. They also note as a general consumer, this shortage will reflect far wider than the print industry. Expect to see limitations and price increases on common goods such as wrapping paper, toilet paper, boxed goods, etc. When asked about The Mailworks approach for the future, Baggetta shared, “Our goal is to secure as much of our primary stocks as possible, while finding cost-effective alternative paper stocks for our customers.”

The Mailworks will continue to stay ahead of this situation as much as possible by planning with customers and forecasting future needs. We recommend you plan your marketing budget for the coming months proactively.