Letters that children mail to “Santa Claus, North Pole” will be destined for North Pole, Alaska after all, and the letters personally answered by dedicated volunteers. The program was initially shut down for logistical reasons, but restored after Rudolph paid a visit to Fairbanks and taught everyone the true meaning of Christmas. Or something like that.
The Santa’s Mailbag program implemented new security procedures after a registered sex offender in Maryland volunteered to answer letters last year. In order to keep children’s home addresses away from program volunteers, contact information on the letters is redacted, creating additional work for post office staff. Initially, the program ended in Alaska, but after the public and the mayor of North Pole, Alaska complained, it’s back!
The Postal Service announced earlier this week it would cancel the program, citing security concerns and incensing the mayor in North Pole, a community that prides itself in promoting the spirit of Christmas.
Withholding the letters to Santa called into question the future of Santa’s Mailbag, a volunteer effort to respond to children’s letters and that dates back 55 years.
Santa letters sent to the North Pole post office will be subject to federal security measures, making more work for postal employees. The Postal Service will redact children’s full names and addresses before the “Dear Santa” letters reach volunteers, officials said.
Childrens’ contact information remains safe, and Santa’s army of volunteer secretaries remains in business! Everyone wins, especially if the program does find a way to keep too much work from falling to postal workers at the busiest time of year.
‘Dear Santa’ letters return to North Pole after postmaster general reverses decision [Fairbanks Daily News-Miner]