‘Tis the season for hundreds and hundreds of kids to sit down and write their annual letters to the North Pole’s most popular resident. While sending a letter to Santa Claus might appear like a pretty straightforward process, it’s experienced a colorful-and at times controversial-history. Listed below are 10 facts and historical tidbits to assist you to appreciate what must be done for St. Nick to handle his mail.
1. SANTA Employed To SEND LETTERS, NOT RECEIVE THEM.
Santa letters originated as missives children received, rather than sent, with parents utilizing them as tools to counsel kids on their behavior. For example, Fanny Longfellow (wife of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) wrote letters to her children every season, weighing in on the actions over the previous year (“I am sorry I sometimes hear you might be not so kind in your little brother because i wish you had been,” she wrote to her son Charley on Christmas Eve 1851). This practice shifted as gifts took with a more central role from the holiday, along with the letters morphed into Christmas wish lists. But some parents continued to publish their kids in Santa’s voice. One of the most impressive of the might be J.R.R. Tolkien, who every Christmas, for almost twenty-five years, left his children elaborately illustrated updates on Father Christmas and his life from the North Pole-filled up with red gnomes, snow elves, along with his chief assistant, the North Polar bear.
2. ORIGINALLY, KIDS DIDN’T MAIL THEM.
Just before the Post Office Department (since the USPS was known until 1971) presented an answer for obtaining santa claus letters to their destination, children put together some creative tips to get their messages where they required to go. Kids in the Usa would leave them by the fireplace, where they were thought to turn into smoke and rise to Santa. Scottish children would increase the procedure 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 in to the sky.
3. It Was Once ILLEGAL To Respond To THEM.
Kids had another good reason to not send their letters from the mail: Santa couldn’t answer them. Santa’s mail used to go to the Dead Letter Office, as well as any other letters addressed to mythical or undeliverable addresses. Though many individuals provided to answer Santa’s letters, they were technically banned 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 created a permanent exception towards the rules, allowing approved individuals and organizations to answer Santa’s mail. To this day, such letters need to be made out explicitly to “Santa Claus” if the post office is headed to enable them to be answered. This way, families actually named “Kringle” or “Nicholas” don’t accidently get their mail shipped for the wrong place.
4. A CARTOON HELPED SPREAD The Excitement OF WRITING TO SANTA.
If one work may be credited with helping kickstart the practice of sending letters to Santa Claus, it’s Thomas Nast’s illustration published inside the December 1871 issue of Harper’s Weekly. The graphic 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 within the highest-circulation publications of the era, and his awesome Santa illustrations had grown in to a beloved tradition since he first drew the figure for the magazine’s cover in 1863. Reports of Santa letters ending up at local post offices shot within the year after Nast’s illustration appeared.
5. NEWSPAPERS Utilized To Respond To Them.
Just before the Post Office Department changed its rules to allow the discharge of Santa letters, local newspapers encouraged children to mail letters in their mind directly. In 1901, the Monroe City Democrat in Monroe City, Missouri, offered “two premiums” on 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 personal information included. This practice shifted as the post office took greater control of the processing of Santa letters.
6. CHARITY GROUPS FOUGHT THEM.
Once the Post Office Department changed the principles on answering Santa’s letters, many established charities protested, complaining that the needs of your kids writing the letters could not verified, and that it had been a generally inefficient method to provide resources for the poor. A normal complaint came from the Charity Organization Society, whose representative wrote towards the Postmaster General, “I beg to request your consideration of your unwholesome publicity accorded to ‘Santa Claus letters’ in this and also other cities at Christmas time a year ago.” Such pleas eventually lost to the public’s sentimentality, as the Postmaster General determined answering the letters would “assist in prolonging [children’s] youthful belief in Santa Claus.”
7. KIDS DON’T ALWAYS ADDRESS These To THE NORTH POLE.
Some children sending letters today direct these people to the North Pole, for the initial few decades of Santa letters this became one of many potential destinations. Other areas where children imagined St. Nick based his operations included Iceland, Ice Street, Cloudville, or “Behind the Moon.” Exceptions may still be found today. While many Usa letters addressed to “Santa Claus” turn out on the local post office for handling included in the Operation Santa program, if the notes are addressed to Anchorage, Alaska, or Santa Claus, Indiana (an actual city name) they may head to those cities’ post offices, where they have 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 so that the big man gets their notes.
8. Not All People ANSWERING THE LETTERS IS SQUEAKY-CLEAN.
While most of the people and organizations who took around the project of answering Santa letters are upstanding, happy folks, a number of the more prominent efforts to respond to Santa’s mail experienced sad endings. In Philadelphia, Elizabeth Phillips played “Miss Santa Claus” towards the city’s poor during the early 1900s, but soon after losing the right to answer Santa’s mail (due to a alteration of post office policy), she killed herself by inhaling gas fumes. Many years later, John Duval Gluck took over answering The Big Apple City’s Santa letters, beneath the organized efforts of the Santa Claus Association. But after 20 years and a quarter-million letters answered, Gluck was discovered to have been using the corporation for his enrichment, and the group lost the right to dexspky60 Santa’s mail. More recently, a New York postal worker pled guilty this October to stealing from Santa: making use of the USPS’s Operation Santa Claus to get generous New Yorkers to transmit her gifts.
9. THE POST OFFICE TRACKS THEM Within A DATABASE.
To formalize the answering of Santa letters, in 2006 the Usa Postal Service established national policy guidelines for Operation Santa, run out of individual post offices through the entire country. The guidelines required those wanting to answer letters to appear directly and present photo ID. 36 months later, USPS added the rule that children’s addresses be redacted from letters before they go to potential donors, replaced by way of a number instead. Everything is kept in a Microsoft Access database to which merely the post office’s team of “elves” has access.
10. SANTA Has A EMAIL ADDRESS.
Always anyone to evolve using 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 included in its annual “Believe” campaign (children can also go that old-fashioned route and drop a letter with the red mailbox at their nearest Macy’s store), along with the folks behind the Elf in stock empire offer their particular link to St. Nick.