‘Tis the season for thousands of kids to take a seat and write their annual letters for the North Pole’s most famous resident. While sending a letter to Santa Claus might seem like a pretty straightforward process, it’s had a colorful-as well as times controversial-history. Listed here are 10 facts and historical tidbits to assist you appreciate what must be done for St. Nick to manage his mail.
1. SANTA Accustomed To SEND LETTERS, NOT RECEIVE THEM.
Santa letters originated as missives children received, instead of sent, with parents using them as tools to counsel kids on his or her behavior. For example, Fanny Longfellow (wife of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) wrote letters to her children every season, weighing in on the actions on the previous year (“I am sorry I sometimes hear you will be not too kind to your little brother when i wish you had been,” she wrote to her son Charley on Christmas Eve 1851). This practice shifted as gifts took on the more central role from the holiday, along with the letters morphed into Christmas wish lists. But some parents continued to write down their kids in Santa’s voice. One of the most impressive of those might be J.R.R. Tolkien, who every Christmas, for nearly twenty-five years, left his children elaborately illustrated updates on Father Christmas along with his life within the North Pole-filled with red gnomes, snow elves, along with his chief assistant, the North Polar bear.
2. ORIGINALLY, KIDS DIDN’T MAIL THEM.
Prior to the Post Office Department (because the USPS was known until 1971) presented an alternative in order to get letter from santa for their destination, children put together some creative methods for getting their messages where they necessary to go. Kids inside the United states would leave them by the fireplace, where these folks were thought to become smoke and go up to Santa. Scottish children would increase the method by sticking their heads in the chimney and crying out their Christmas wishes. In Latin America, kids attached their missives to balloons, watching since their letters drifted to the sky.
3. It Was Once ILLEGAL To Reply To THEM.
Kids had one other good reason to never send their letters throughout the mail: Santa couldn’t respond to them. Santa’s mail used to see the Dead Letter Office, together with every other letters addressed to mythical or undeliverable addresses. Though lots of people accessible to answer Santa’s letters, these folks were technically not allowed to, since opening someone else’s letters, even Dead Letters, was versus the law. (Some postmasters, however, violated the guidelines.) Things changed in 1913, if the Postmaster General crafted a permanent exception on the rules, allowing approved individuals and organizations to answer Santa’s mail. Even today, such letters must be made out explicitly to “Santa Claus” when the post office is certainly going to enable them to be answered. Doing this, families actually named “Kringle” or “Nicholas” don’t accidently have their own mail shipped for the wrong place.
4. A CARTOON HELPED SPREAD The Excitement OF WRITING TO SANTA.
If an individual work could be credited with helping kickstart the technique of sending letters to Santa Claus, it’s Thomas Nast’s illustration published within the December 1871 issue of Harper’s Weekly. The image shows Santa seated at his desk and processing his mail, sorting items into stacks labeled “Letters from Naughty Children’s Parents” and “Letters from Good Children’s Parents.” Nast’s illustrations were widely seen and shared, being in one of the highest-circulation publications of the era, with his fantastic Santa illustrations had grown into a beloved tradition since he first drew the figure to the magazine’s cover in 1863. Reports of Santa letters winding up at local post offices shot the year after Nast’s illustration appeared.
5. NEWSPAPERS Accustomed To ANSWER THEM.
Prior to the Post Office Department changed its rules to allow the production of Santa letters, local newspapers encouraged children to mail letters to them directly. In 1901, the Monroe City Democrat in Monroe City, Missouri, offered “two premiums” for the best letter. In 1922, the Daily Ardmoreite, in Ardmore, Oklahoma, offered prizes to the three best letters. The winning missives were published, often with the children’s addresses and private information included. This practice shifted because the post office took greater control of the processing of Santa letters.
6. CHARITY GROUPS FOUGHT THEM.
Once the Post Office Department changed the guidelines on answering Santa’s letters, many established charities protested, complaining that the requirements of the children writing the letters could stop being verified, and that it was a generally inefficient approach to provide resources for the poor. A normal complaint originated the Charity Organization Society, whose representative wrote for the Postmaster General, “I beg to request your consideration in the unwholesome publicity accorded to ‘Santa Claus letters’ in this along with other cities at Christmas time just last year.” Such pleas eventually lost out to the public’s sentimentality, as being the Postmaster General determined answering the letters would “assist in prolonging [children’s] youthful belief in Santa Claus.”
7. KIDS DON’T ALWAYS ADDRESS Those To THE NORTH POLE.
Some children sending letters today direct these to the North Pole, for the initial decades of Santa letters this was one amongst many potential destinations. Other areas where children imagined St. Nick based his operations included Iceland, Ice Street, Cloudville, or “Behind the Moon.” Exceptions can nevertheless be found today. While many U.S. letters addressed to “Santa Claus” find yourself with the local post office for handling within the Operation Santa program, in case the notes are addressed to Anchorage, Alaska, or Santa Claus, Indiana (an actual city name) they will go to those cities’ post offices, where they obtain a special response from local letter-answering campaigns. Kids in England can address letters to “Santa’s Grotto” in Reindeerland, XM4 5HQ. Canadian children can just write “North Pole” and add the postmark H0H 0H0 to ensure the big man gets their notes.
8. NOT EVERYONE ANSWERING THE LETTERS IS SQUEAKY-CLEAN.
While many of the people and organizations who took about the project of answering Santa letters are upstanding, happy folks, a number of the more prominent efforts to answer Santa’s mail have gotten sad endings. In Philadelphia, Elizabeth Phillips played “Miss Santa Claus” towards the city’s poor in the early 1900s, but shortly after losing the authority to answer Santa’s mail (because of a change in post office policy), she killed herself by inhaling gas fumes. Quite a while later, John Duval Gluck took over answering New York City’s Santa letters, underneath the organized efforts of your Santa Claus Association. But after fifteen years plus a quarter-million letters answered, Gluck was discovered to have been using the corporation for his very own enrichment, and also the group lost the authority to dexspky60 Santa’s mail. More recently, a The Big Apple postal worker pled guilty this October to stealing from Santa: while using USPS’s Operation Santa Claus to obtain generous New Yorkers to transmit her gifts.
9. THE POST OFFICE TRACKS THEM Inside A DATABASE.
In an attempt to formalize the answering of Santa letters, in 2006 the Usa Postal Service established national policy guidelines for Operation Santa, exhaust individual post offices through the entire country. The guidelines required those wanting to answer letters to seem in person and provide photo ID. Three years later, USPS added the rule that most children’s addresses be redacted from letters before they go to potential donors, replaced by a number instead. The whole thing is stored in a Microsoft Access database which simply the post office’s team of “elves” has access.
10. SANTA Posseses An Current Email Address.
Always anyone to evolve with all the times, Santa now answers email. Kids can reach him through a variety of outlets, like Letters to Santa, Email Santa, and Elf HQ. Macy’s encourages kids to email St. Nick as an element of its annual “Believe” campaign (children may also go the previous-fashioned route and drop a letter at the red mailbox at their nearest Macy’s store), as well as the folks behind the Elf on the Shelf empire offer their own personal link with St. Nick.