I’m in the Christmas spirit. Well, maybe after Thanksgiving I will be. No, I am deciding to be right now in spite of a decision by the United States Postal Service to participate in what is seems at first glance to be Grinch like behaviour. The North Pole, Alaska post office has a long standing tradition of forwarding Santa letters to Santa’s mail bag. They have decided to discontinue the service. They cite understaffing as the main reason, but consolidation, I think, is playing the bigger role.
Let me explain. Machinery (known as automation to us) is the way the majority of the mail is handled now. Clerk jobs are vanishing while the automated equipment is getting more sophisticated. Now one set of machines can process the mail for an entire state, even putting each individual route in delivery point sequence (that’s DPS to us). So the North Pole postmark will become a thing of the past since all the canceling machines will be in Anchorage. That’s striking considering that Fairbanks is much closer, but that’s the nature of the business now with automation. I’m sure you see it where you are too. Your letter to someone else quite close to you probably goes to a large city fifty miles away or more, and then comes back for delivery after receiving that neighboring city’s postmark.
The Santa Claus House at North Pole, Alaska will still work on getting the letters to Santa’s mail bag, but the USPS won’t be helping as in years past. They hope to have a dedicated address to Santa in place for next Christmas. But for this Christmas, many Santa letters will not reach their destination. A necessary step, I think, but very poor timing. Watch a short video here for the USPS explanation. Note that many cities have local agencies which handle Santa letters and will continue to do so. In the post office in which I work there is a Santa helper quite dedicated to making sure Santa letters are handled properly.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman