North Pole, Alaska, Won’t Send Letters From Santa Anymore

A little less holiday cheer from North Pole

Image from Flickr.

Image from Flickr.

People in North Pole, Alaska, are upset that the town’s long-standing tradition of letters from Santa is coming to an end. People all over the United States will be affected by the change, as the Postal Service is dropping the national program that answers children’s letters near Christmas.

However, the change seems to be hitting hardest in North Pole, Alaska. It should come as no surprise that the tradition that became a nationwide Postal Service program began in North Pole, Alaska. Every year since 1954, children have gotten replies to their letters to Santa Claus, complete with North Pole postmarks and signed by “Santa’s Helpers.”

No money for Santa?

When I read about canceling the letters from the Santa program, I assumed it was because the Postal Service was trying to save money. After all, the USPS has already raised postage prices and discussed stopping Saturday delivery. It has seemed for a long time that soon the Postal Service will need a loan to continue operating.

However, it turns out that volunteers write the responses to children’s letters to Santa. Still, delivering some of the letters must have cost the Postal Service extra for labor and fuel. I thought “What a logical, frugal thing for the post office to do. They shouldn’t be wasting money on this.” As you can probably guess, I don’t have children, and I’m not really into Christmas.

A sad surprise

Turns out, money wasn’t the problem at all. While I supported the Postal Service’s decision when I assumed it was for financial reasons, I felt even more strongly that the USPS had done the right thing when I read the real reason the national program is being dropped. From the Huffington Post:

Last year, a postal worker in Maryland recognized an Operation Santa volunteer there as a registered sex offender. The postal worker interceded before the individual could answer a child’s letter, but the Postal Service viewed the episode as a big enough scare to tighten rules in such programs nationwide.

Of course, people in North Pole, Alaska, and probably elsewhere, are still opposed to the change, calling the Postal Service the Grinch. However, I think children’s safety is a lot more important than furthering the Santa fantasy and cutesy holiday traditions. Letting a registered sex offender have access to hundreds of little children’s addresses is just not right at all.

No sex offenders in the North Pole, eh?

While residents of North Pole, Alaska, are outraged, the mayor admits that the Postal Service is taking necessary cautions. However, he also says the incident that happened so far away from North Pole, Alaska, shouldn’t affect their small town.

The Postal Service has had restrictions in place for years, and there are still other letter-answering programs besides the one that the Postal Service is dropping. However, a spokeswoman from the Anchorage post office says Alaska won’t be able to operate any letter answering programs because of the new restrictions. Read the full story about why there will be no more letters from Santa in North Pole, Alaska

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