Santa Claus and his elves are alive and well, but not at the North Pole where you might expect. Jolly Old Saint Nicholas has been operating out of Santa Claus, Indiana for nearly the last 100 years.
The tradition of answering Santa Claus' mail began several years ago. The Postmaster, James Martin, of the small town of Santa Claus, Indiana answered the first of children’s letters to Santa in 1914. The tradition has been carried on ever since.
So how does it work? Every year around Christmas time, children from all over the world, Germany, China, the U.S., etc., send their letters to Santa. The letters are in their native languages which can make it difficult on the elves; however they do have at least one interpreter on board, a German elf. The letters are read and then the elves help Santa by writing letters back, in English, to the children. The letters are also personalized with the child's name. Letters can be sent to Santa Claus, P.O. Box 1, Santa Claus, IN 47579, and the elves suggest to parents that a legible return address is sent as well.
According to Santa's Elves Inc., a non-profit organization that was formed in 1974, up to 10,000 letters are answered each year by Santa's Elves. To keep up with the volume, people around the community pitch in, including Christmas Lake Village Garden Club, local senior citizens, and other volunteers.
Now, children can also send their letters to Santa via email. This has resulted in around 20,000 letters for Santa this year, so the need for volunteers is more than ever. When asked why there has been so many letters being sent this year, Seger the elf suggested that is was because "the children can write a letter on the internet, we get media [attention] every year and we've been on the travel channel and some others."
Silvia Seger is an elf of 10 years. “Keeping Santa alive by sending a letter and getting a letter from Santa has to be special," says Seger.
The next time, dear reader, you are feeling a little “Baa Humbug”, remember Santa Elves are making Christmas a little brighter. And how could you not feel jolly when making someone else's Christmas a little merrier?
For more information contact Paula Werne, 812-937-5209 or email@example.com