Friday, December 4, 2009
Santa Claus's Main Post Office
Arctic Circle, Finland
Given all of the troubles the USPS is having with mail to Santa this year, I took a quick look at how it is handled in other countries. Mail to Santa is a worldwide phenomena and countries close to the North Pole all receive thousands of pieces of mail addressed to Santa. Many have formalized programs to answer the letters.
A couple of Posts have websites that help children (and their parents) send letters to Santa. All of these countries reflect English culture. Here are three.
Australia Post - handles over 100,000 letters to Santa. They have a special address and Postal Code. Australia Post works with Santa's elves to ensure children who write a letter to Santa at his special address receive a reply. The website includes pdf files of special stationary for Santa letters
Canada Post - replied to 1.4 million letters and 63,000 emails in 2008. Like Australia Post, Canada Post has a specific address and zip code for Santa letters. Its website also has the link to Santa's e-mail address which allows it to digitally savvy children. The website also includes holiday games and a weekly posting from Santa.
Royal Mail - has a special address for Santa letters and responds to as many as possible.
Posti (Finland Post) - has both a mail and e-mail address for Santa. Finland Post receives mail from children worldwide at a real Post Office on the Arctic Circle. It appears that you can get request a letter from Santa as well.
What is common among all of these postal operators is that they turn the Santa letters into a way to promote the corporate image to both children and their parents. Too bad the Postal Service is constrained from taking advantage of this image building opportunity.