Some letters to Santa ask for a puppy, a pony or the latest electronic gizmo. Others, with requests for peace on earth or food for the hungry, reflect the letter writers’ altruism. Still others contain heartbreaking appeals for things Santa cannot pack on his sleigh: a job for the family breadwinner, a warm house during the winter, relief from sickness.
The United States Postal Service (www.usps.com) has received such letters to Santa every year for more than a century. Most went unanswered. That changed in 1912 when Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock authorized local post offices to allow postal employees and members of the public to respond to the mountains of mail addressed to Santa. One hundred years later, the Letters to Santa program continues making the Christmas wishes of children come true.
Letters to Santa programs operate in post offices around the country. At some Post Offices, volunteers respond to letters by sending written responses, bearing Santa’s signature or by fulfilling the wishes expressed in the letters to Santa. At other select Post Offices, members of the public are invited to “adopt” Santa letters for wish fulfillment. “Operation Santa” at New York City’s James A. Farley Post Office Building on Eighth Avenue hosts the country’s largest public adoption program. The facility receives a half-million Santa letters each season.
To commemorate the centennial anniversary of its Letters to Santa program, the Postal Service issued a special 2012 Santa and Sleigh Forever stamp and offered anniversary merchandise (www.usps.com/shop/holidaystore):
- In the Mailbox Milk and Cookie Set that includes a cup, a plate and two cookie cutters for those wanting to bake and leave cookies for Santa
- In the Mailbox Holiday Bear that is ready for mailing in its own box
- Letters to Santa children’s book, a writing kit and naughty-or-nice lists
Congratulations to the United States Postal Service on the 100th anniversary of its Letters to Santa program! That definitely qualifies the USPS for the Nice List. (See for yourself by taking a peek at this charming anniversary video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M03-HE9omy0).
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Blogger Bio: Pauline Bartel, M.A., is President and Chief Creative Officer of Bartel Communications, Inc., an award-winning corporate communications firm, specializing in marketing, public relations and business anniversary consulting services. The firm created “The Bartel Years™” and “The Bartel Years 200™,” rosters of business anniversary symbols to inspire two centuries of business anniversary “sell”-abrations. Download free copies of “The Bartel Years™” and the special report “The Top 10 Business Anniversary Ideas for SELL-abrating Your Business Anniversary” at this link: http://www.paulinebartel.com/services/corporate-services/business-anniversary-consulting