‘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 may appear such as a pretty straightforward process, it’s enjoyed a colorful-and also at times controversial-history. Listed below are 10 facts and historical tidbits to assist you to appreciate what it takes for St. Nick to control his mail.
1. SANTA Utilized 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 their 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 on the previous year (“I am sorry I sometimes hear you might be not kind for 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 over a more central role in the holiday, as well as the letters morphed into Christmas wish lists. However some parents continued to publish their kids in Santa’s voice. Probably the most impressive of the might be J.R.R. Tolkien, who every Christmas, for pretty much twenty-five years, left his children elaborately illustrated updates on Father Christmas along with his life within 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 the USPS was known until 1971) presented an alternative for getting personalized letters from santa on their destination, children came up with some creative techniques for getting their messages where they found it necessary to go. Kids within the U.S. would leave them with the fireplace, where these people were thought to develop into smoke and go up to Santa. Scottish children would increase the method by sticking their heads the chimney and crying out their Christmas wishes. In Latin America, kids attached their missives to balloons, watching as their letters drifted into the sky.
3. IT USED TO BE ILLEGAL To Resolve THEM.
Kids had one additional reason to never send their letters through the mail: Santa couldn’t respond to them. Santa’s mail used to attend the Dead Letter Office, in addition to almost 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 principles.) Things changed in 1913, as soon as 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” in the event the post office is going to enable them to be answered. That way, families actually named “Kringle” or “Nicholas” don’t accidently have their mail shipped on the wrong place.
4. A CARTOON HELPED SPREAD The Excitement OF WRITING TO SANTA.
If an individual work can 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 in one of the highest-circulation publications from 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 finding yourself at local post offices shot in the year after Nast’s illustration appeared.
5. NEWSPAPERS Accustomed To Respond To Them.
Prior to the Post Office Department changed its rules allowing the discharge 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 for the three best letters. The winning missives were published, often using the children’s addresses and personal information included. This practice shifted as being the post office took greater power over the processing of Santa letters.
6. CHARITY GROUPS FOUGHT THEM.
When the Post Office Department changed the principles on answering Santa’s letters, many established charities protested, complaining that the requirements the children writing the letters could not be verified, and therefore it was a generally inefficient approach to provide resources to the poor. A typical complaint came from the Charity Organization Society, whose representative wrote on the Postmaster General, “I beg to request your consideration of the unwholesome publicity accorded to ‘Santa Claus letters’ in this particular and other cities at Christmas time just last year.” Such pleas eventually lost in the market 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 These To THE NORTH POLE.
While many children sending letters today direct those to the North Pole, for the first decades of Santa letters it was 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 still be found today. Some U.S. letters addressed to “Santa Claus” wind up on 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 head to those cities’ post offices, where they get yourself 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 about the project of answering Santa letters are upstanding, happy folks, several of the more prominent efforts to reply to Santa’s mail experienced sad endings. In Philadelphia, Elizabeth Phillips played “Miss Santa Claus” to the city’s poor in the early 1900s, but soon after losing the ability to answer Santa’s mail (caused by a alteration of 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, underneath the organized efforts in the Santa Claus Association. But after 20 years as well as a quarter-million letters answered, Gluck was found to have used the business for their own enrichment, and the group lost the right to dexspky60 Santa’s mail. Recently, a The Big Apple postal worker pled guilty this October to stealing from Santa: while using USPS’s Operation Santa Claus to have generous New Yorkers to send 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, exhaust your individual post offices through the entire country. The principles required those trying to answer letters to show up in person and provide photo ID. Three years later, USPS added the rule that all children’s addresses be redacted from letters before they head to potential donors, replaced by a number instead. The whole thing is saved in a Microsoft Access database that simply the post office’s team of “elves” has access.
10. SANTA Comes With An EMAIL ADDRESS.
Always someone to evolve 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 as part of its annual “Believe” campaign (children may also go the existing-fashioned route and drop a letter on the red mailbox at their nearest Macy’s store), and the folks behind the Elf in stock empire offer their own personal link to St. Nick.