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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



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