‘Tis the season for tens of thousands of kids to sit down and write their annual letters for the North Pole’s most famous resident. While sending a letter to Santa Claus might appear similar to a pretty straightforward process, it’s enjoyed a colorful-as well as at times controversial-history. Listed here are 10 facts and historical tidbits that will help you appreciate what is required for St. Nick to handle his mail.
1. SANTA USED TO SEND LETTERS, NOT RECEIVE THEM.
Santa letters originated as missives children received, as opposed to sent, with parents utilizing 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 their actions across the previous year (“I am sorry I sometimes hear you might be not too kind to the little brother while i wish you have been,” she wrote to her son Charley on Christmas Eve 1851). This practice shifted as gifts took with a more central role within the holiday, along with the letters morphed into Christmas wish lists. However, some parents continued to write their kids in Santa’s voice. The most impressive of such might be J.R.R. Tolkien, who every Christmas, for almost twenty five years, left his children elaborately illustrated updates on Father Christmas along with his life in the North Pole-full of red gnomes, snow elves, and his chief assistant, the North Polar bear.
2. ORIGINALLY, KIDS DIDN’T MAIL THEM.
Just before the Post Office Department (as being the USPS was known until 1971) presented an alternative in order to get santa list to 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 through the fireplace, where these were considered to turn into smoke and increase to Santa. Scottish children would quicken the process by sticking their heads up the chimney and crying out their Christmas wishes. In Latin America, kids attached their missives to balloons, watching since their letters drifted in the sky.
3. IT USED TO BE ILLEGAL TO ANSWER THEM.
Kids had another good reason to never send their letters from the mail: Santa couldn’t answer them. Santa’s mail used to visit the Dead Letter Office, along with every other letters addressed to mythical or undeliverable addresses. Though a lot of people offered to answer Santa’s letters, these were technically banned to, since opening someone else’s letters, even Dead Letters, was against the law. (Some postmasters, however, violated the rules.) Things changed in 1913, if the Postmaster General crafted a permanent exception towards the rules, allowing approved individuals and organizations to respond to Santa’s mail. Even today, such letters have 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 have their mail shipped towards the wrong place.
4. A CARTOON HELPED SPREAD The Recognition OF WRITING TO SANTA.
If a person work could be credited with helping kickstart the concept of sending letters to Santa Claus, it’s Thomas Nast’s illustration published inside the December 1871 issue of Harper’s Weekly. The picture 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 in the era, and his Santa illustrations had grown in to a beloved tradition since he first drew the figure to the magazine’s cover in 1863. Reports of Santa letters ending up at local post offices shot up the year after Nast’s illustration appeared.
5. NEWSPAPERS Employed To ANSWER THEM.
Prior to 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 towards the three best letters. The winning missives were published, often with the children’s addresses and personal information included. This practice shifted as being the post office took greater control over the processing of Santa letters.
6. CHARITY GROUPS FOUGHT THEM.
If the Post Office Department changed the guidelines on answering Santa’s letters, many established charities protested, complaining that the requirements the youngsters writing the letters could stop being verified, and that it was a generally inefficient way to provide resources towards the poor. An average complaint originated the Charity Organization Society, whose representative wrote on the Postmaster General, “I beg to request your consideration in the unwholesome publicity accorded to ‘Santa Claus letters’ within this and other cities at Christmas time this past year.” 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 Those To THE NORTH POLE.
Some children sending letters today direct those to the North Pole, for the first few decades of Santa letters this was 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 still be found today. While many United states letters addressed to “Santa Claus” wind up in the local post office for handling within the Operation Santa program, in case the notes are addressed to Anchorage, Alaska, or Santa Claus, Indiana (a real city name) they are going to 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 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 on the project of answering Santa letters are upstanding, happy folks, some of the more prominent efforts to resolve Santa’s mail experienced sad endings. In Philadelphia, Elizabeth Phillips played “Miss Santa Claus” on the city’s poor in the early 1900s, but soon 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 City’s Santa letters, within the organized efforts of your Santa Claus Association. But after fifteen years and a quarter-million letters answered, Gluck was found to have used the group for his own enrichment, along with the group lost the right to dexspky60 Santa’s mail. Recently, a Ny City postal worker pled guilty this October to stealing from Santa: utilizing the USPS’s Operation Santa Claus to acquire generous New Yorkers to send out her gifts.
9. THE POST OFFICE TRACKS THEM IN A DATABASE.
In order 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 entire country. The guidelines required those planning to answer letters to show up personally and provide photo ID. 3 years later, USPS added the rule that every children’s addresses be redacted from letters before they visit potential donors, replaced by way of a number instead. Everything is held in a Microsoft Access database that just the post office’s team of “elves” has access.
10. SANTA HAS AN Current Email Address.
Always a person to evolve together with the times, Santa now answers email. Kids can reach him through several outlets, for example Letters to Santa, Email Santa, and Elf HQ. Macy’s encourages kids to email St. Nick included in its annual “Believe” campaign (children could also go the existing-fashioned route and drop a letter on the red mailbox at their nearest Macy’s store), along with the folks behind the Elf on the Shelf empire offer their own link with St. Nick.