‘Tis the season for hundreds and hundreds of kids to sit down and write their annual letters to the North Pole’s most well-known resident. While sending a letter to Santa Claus might seem like a pretty straightforward process, it’s experienced a colorful-and also at times controversial-history. Allow me to share 10 facts and historical tidbits to assist you to appreciate what is required for St. Nick to control his mail.
1. SANTA Accustomed To SEND LETTERS, NOT RECEIVE THEM.
Santa letters originated as missives children received, as opposed to sent, with parents making use of them as tools to counsel kids on their own behavior. As an example, Fanny Longfellow (wife of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) wrote letters to her children every season, weighing in on his or her actions across the previous year (“I am sorry I sometimes hear you are not so kind in your little brother when i wish you were,” she wrote to her son Charley on Christmas Eve 1851). This practice shifted as gifts took on the more central role within the holiday, along with the letters morphed into Christmas wish lists. However some parents continued to publish their kids in Santa’s voice. One of the most impressive of those might be J.R.R. Tolkien, who every Christmas, for almost twenty five years, left his children elaborately illustrated updates on Father Christmas with his fantastic life within the North Pole-loaded with red gnomes, snow elves, and his chief assistant, the North Polar bear.
2. ORIGINALLY, KIDS DIDN’T MAIL THEM.
Ahead of the Post Office Department (because the USPS was known until 1971) presented an alternative for obtaining letters from santa claus to their destination, children put together some creative methods for getting their messages where they needed to go. Kids in the Usa would leave them with the fireplace, where these folks were believed to transform into smoke and rise to Santa. Scottish children would accelerate the method by sticking their heads within the chimney and crying out their Christmas wishes. In Latin America, kids attached their missives to balloons, watching his or her letters drifted to the sky.
3. It Was Once ILLEGAL To Respond To THEM.
Kids had another great reason to never send their letters from the mail: Santa couldn’t respond to them. Santa’s mail used to visit the Dead Letter Office, together with almost every other letters addressed to mythical or undeliverable addresses. Though lots of people provided to answer Santa’s letters, these people were technically prohibited to, since opening someone else’s letters, even Dead Letters, was up against the law. (Some postmasters, however, violated the rules.) Things changed in 1913, if the Postmaster General made a permanent exception towards the rules, allowing approved individuals and organizations to reply to Santa’s mail. Even today, such letters need to be made out explicitly to “Santa Claus” when the post office is going to allow them to be answered. This way, families actually named “Kringle” or “Nicholas” don’t accidently their very own mail shipped on the wrong place.
4. A CARTOON HELPED SPREAD THE POPULARITY OF WRITING TO SANTA.
If someone work may be credited with helping kickstart practicing sending letters to Santa Claus, it’s Thomas Nast’s illustration published in 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 in one of the highest-circulation publications of the era, and his awesome Santa illustrations had grown in a beloved tradition since he first drew the figure for your magazine’s cover in 1863. Reports of Santa letters finding yourself at local post offices shot within the year after Nast’s illustration appeared.
5. NEWSPAPERS Utilized To ANSWER THEM.
Prior to the Post Office Department changed its rules to enable 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” towards the best letter. In 1922, the Daily Ardmoreite, in Ardmore, Oklahoma, offered prizes on the three best letters. The winning missives were published, often together with the children’s addresses and private 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 guidelines on answering Santa’s letters, many established charities protested, complaining that the requirements your kids writing the letters could not be verified, and this it was actually a generally inefficient strategy to provide resources to the poor. A normal complaint came from the Charity Organization Society, whose representative wrote on the Postmaster General, “I beg to request your consideration of your unwholesome publicity accorded to ‘Santa Claus letters’ in this as well as other cities at Christmas time just last year.” Such pleas eventually lost in the market 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 Those To THE NORTH POLE.
Some children sending letters today direct these to the North Pole, for the first few decades of Santa letters this is just 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 can nevertheless be found today. While most Usa letters addressed to “Santa Claus” turn out in the local post office for handling as part of the Operation Santa program, if the notes are addressed to Anchorage, Alaska, or Santa Claus, Indiana (an actual city name) they may check out 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 to be sure the big man gets their notes.
8. Not All People ANSWERING THE LETTERS IS SQUEAKY-CLEAN.
While a lot of the people and organizations who took in 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” for the city’s poor in the early 1900s, but shortly after losing the authority to answer Santa’s mail (as a result of alternation in post office policy), she killed herself by inhaling gas fumes. A few years later, John Duval Gluck took over answering Ny City’s Santa letters, within the organized efforts of the Santa Claus Association. But after fifteen years plus a quarter-million letters answered, Gluck was discovered to have been using the organization for his very own enrichment, and the group lost the authority to dexspky60 Santa’s mail. Recently, a New York postal worker pled guilty this October to stealing from Santa: using the USPS’s Operation Santa Claus to obtain generous New Yorkers to send her gifts.
9. THE POST OFFICE TRACKS THEM IN A DATABASE.
To formalize the answering of Santa letters, in 2006 the U.S. Postal Service established national policy guidelines for Operation Santa, run out of individual post offices through the country. The guidelines required those seeking to answer letters to show up in person and present photo ID. 3 years later, USPS added the rule that most children’s addresses be redacted from letters before they go to potential donors, replaced by way of a number instead. Everything is held in a Microsoft Access database that merely the post office’s team of “elves” has access.
10. SANTA Has A Current Email Address.
Always anyone to evolve with the times, Santa now answers email. Kids can reach him through numerous outlets, such as Letters to Santa, Email Santa, and Elf HQ. Macy’s encourages kids to email St. Nick as part of its annual “Believe” campaign (children can also go the previous-fashioned route and drop a letter in the red mailbox at their nearest Macy’s store), as well as the folks behind the Elf on the Shelf empire offer their particular link to St. Nick.