The most popular guy on earth
Every year across the world millions of letters are sent to Santa Claus containing children’s best wishes and good will to the man that supplies more presents than anyone else on the planet. This is such a phenomenon that some post offices started, years ago, to take the issue seriously.
In New Yorka project called Operation Santa Claus started in the ’20s. The project began informally whenNew York postal clerks began chipping in their own money to buy gifts for poor kids whose notes to Santa ended up in the dead-letter office. As the number of letters grew, the clerks asked for help from the public. The program’s most dramatic growth has come in the last two decades. In 1980, there were about 5,000 letters to Santa from needy kids received at the New York Post Office. This year the total will almost certainly be more than 150,000, and could approach 200,000.
Santa’s parcel business
In the Artic Circle (Finland), where Santa has his permanent residence, there is the Santa Claus main post office. The service is provided by the Finnish postal service Posti. Cards, letters and parcels sent from Santa Claus’ Main Post Office are franked with a genuineArctic Circle special postmark, which is something users can’t get anywhere else. The office gets around 700,000 letters a year! And now there is an email service where users can send their emails and save the paper work.
Some decades later up in the North, staff at Canada Post’s Montreal office were noticing a considerable number of letters addressed to Santa Claus coming into the postalsystem, and those letters were being treated as undeliverable. Since those employees did not want the writers, mostly young children, to be disappointed at the lack of response, they started answering the letters themselves. The amount of mail sent to Santa Claus increased every Christmas, up to the point that Canada Post decided to start an official Santa Claus letter-response program in 1983. Approximately one million letters come in to Santa Claus each Christmas, including from outside ofCanada, and all of them are answered, in the same languages in which they are written. Canada Post introduced a special address for mail to Santa Claus, complete with its own postal code:
SANTA CLAUS, NORTH POLE H0H 0H0, CANADA
H0H 0H0 was chosen for this special seasonal use as it reads as “Ho ho ho”. In fact the H0- prefix is a contradiction because in Canada the 0 indicates a very small, rural village, but H is used to designate Montreal, the second-largest city inCanada. As such, the H0- prefix is almost completely empty, with one exception: H0M, assigned to the international Akwesasne tribal reserve on the U.S.-Canada border, is the only other H0- postal code in active use.
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