‘Tis the season for hundreds and hundreds of kids to take a seat and write their annual letters on the North Pole’s most famous resident. While sending a letter to Santa Claus might seem similar to a pretty straightforward process, it’s possessed a colorful-as well as times controversial-history. Listed here are 10 facts and historical tidbits to assist you appreciate what it takes for St. Nick to handle his mail.
1. SANTA Employed To SEND LETTERS, NOT RECEIVE THEM.
Santa letters originated as missives children received, as an alternative to sent, with parents making use of 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 his or her actions within the previous year (“I am sorry I sometimes hear you might be less than kind for 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 inside the holiday, along with the letters morphed into Christmas wish lists. However some parents continued to write their kids in Santa’s voice. One of the most impressive of such may be J.R.R. Tolkien, who every Christmas, for pretty much twenty five years, left his children elaborately illustrated updates on Father Christmas and his awesome life inside the North Pole-full of red gnomes, snow elves, and his awesome chief assistant, the North Polar bear.
2. ORIGINALLY, KIDS DIDN’T MAIL THEM.
Prior to the Post Office Department (as being the USPS was known until 1971) presented a remedy to get santa claus letters to their destination, children developed some creative methods for getting their messages where they needed to go. Kids in the United states would leave them by the fireplace, where these people were considered to transform into smoke and go up to Santa. Scottish children would accelerate 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 as their letters drifted to the sky.
3. It Once Was ILLEGAL TO ANSWER THEM.
Kids had one other good reason never to send their letters through the mail: Santa couldn’t answer them. Santa’s mail used to go to the Dead Letter Office, together with almost every other letters addressed to mythical or undeliverable addresses. Though many people accessible to answer Santa’s letters, these were technically prohibited to, since opening someone else’s letters, even Dead Letters, was from the law. (Some postmasters, however, violated the principles.) Things changed in 1913, if the Postmaster General crafted a permanent exception to the rules, allowing approved individuals and organizations to reply to Santa’s mail. To this day, such letters must be made out explicitly to “Santa Claus” in the event the post office goes to allow them to be answered. This way, families actually named “Kringle” or “Nicholas” don’t accidently get their mail shipped on the wrong place.
4. A CARTOON HELPED SPREAD The Recognition OF WRITING TO SANTA.
If one work might be credited with helping kickstart the practice of sending letters to Santa Claus, it’s Thomas Nast’s illustration published from 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 within the highest-circulation publications from the era, and his Santa illustrations had grown in to a beloved tradition since he first drew the figure for that magazine’s cover in 1863. Reports of Santa letters finding yourself at local post offices shot the year after Nast’s illustration appeared.
5. NEWSPAPERS USED TO ANSWER THEM.
Just before the Post Office Department changed its rules to permit the making 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 on the three best letters. The winning missives were published, often with all the children’s addresses and personal information included. This practice shifted since the post office took greater control of the processing of Santa letters.
6. CHARITY GROUPS FOUGHT THEM.
When the Post Office Department changed the rules on answering Santa’s letters, many established charities protested, complaining that the requirements your kids writing the letters could stop being verified, and this it was actually a generally inefficient way to provide resources towards the poor. A standard complaint originated the Charity Organization Society, whose representative wrote towards the Postmaster General, “I beg to request your consideration from the unwholesome publicity accorded to ‘Santa Claus letters’ within this along with other cities at Christmas time last year.” Such pleas eventually lost over to the public’s sentimentality, because 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 People To THE NORTH POLE.
Some children sending letters today direct these people to the North Pole, for the first decades of Santa letters this was one amongst many potential destinations. Other locations where children imagined St. Nick based his operations included Iceland, Ice Street, Cloudville, or “Behind the Moon.” Exceptions can still be found today. While many Usa letters addressed to “Santa Claus” wind up at the local post office for handling as part of the Operation Santa program, in the event 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 be sure 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 on the project of answering Santa letters are upstanding, happy folks, several of the more prominent efforts to respond to Santa’s mail have gotten sad endings. In Philadelphia, Elizabeth Phillips played “Miss Santa Claus” to the city’s poor in 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 New York City City’s Santa letters, under the organized efforts of your Santa Claus Association. But after 20 years plus a quarter-million letters answered, Gluck was discovered to have used the business for his enrichment, and the group lost the legal right to dexspky60 Santa’s mail. More recently, a Ny City postal worker pled guilty this October to stealing from Santa: using the USPS’s Operation Santa Claus to get generous New Yorkers to transmit her gifts.
9. THE POST OFFICE TRACKS THEM Within 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, run out of individual post offices during the entire country. The guidelines required those wanting to answer letters to show up directly and present photo ID. 3 years later, USPS added the rule that most children’s addresses be redacted from letters before they check out potential donors, replaced from a number instead. The whole thing is stored in a Microsoft Access database to which just the post office’s team of “elves” has access.
10. SANTA HAS AN EMAIL ADDRESS.
Always one to evolve with all 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 within its annual “Believe” campaign (children may also go the old-fashioned route and drop a letter on the red mailbox at their nearest Macy’s store), as well as the folks behind the Elf on the Shelf empire offer their particular connection to St. Nick.