Earlier this week, we posted about trying to get more people to send handwritten letters. Now, there’s this story in USA Today about the American postal service cancelling a Christmas letter-writing program that has been running for more than 50 years.
Starry-eyed children writing letters to the jolly man at the North Pole this holiday season likely won’t get a response from Santa Claus or his helpers.
The US Postal Service is dropping a popular national program begun in 1954 in the small Alaska town of North Pole, where volunteers open and respond to thousands of letters addressed to Santa each year. Replies come with North Pole postmarks.
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.
Apparently, the postal bureaucracy believes this incident with the sex offender is proof that paedophiles could get kids’ names and addresses from their letters to the North Pole and then hunt them down.
The Postal Service says it will still be offering the Operation Santa program, in which volunteers answer letters written to Santa Claus. They just won’t deliver letters addressed to Santa at the North Pole, and the responses that children receive will not have the North Pole postmark.