Santa letters hits North Pole

I think not
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- It's a name that needs no address. Everyone knows Santa Claus lives at the North Pole. So letters sent to the roly-poly icon find their way to the small town of North Pole deep in Alaska's interior, including those simply addressed to Santa. Last year, 120,000 letters arrived from 26 countries, not counting the thousands with no return address.

Those that do have return addresses usually get a reply and a North Pole postmark in a holiday effort that has delighted children all over the world for decades. Letters trickle in year-round in the community of 1,600, where light poles are curved and striped like candy canes and streets have names such as Santa Claus Lane and Kris Kringle Drive. Around Thanksgiving, they start pouring in by the thousands each day as Christmas approaches. Even stampless letters get through, a rare exception for the U.S. Postal Service.

"This is special because it has Santa's name on it," said Debra Cornelius, a supervisor at the main post office in nearby Fairbanks, where the letters are processed during the holiday rush.

"It's what makes Christmas magic for children," Cornelius said. "Why not make that available for them?"

Gabby Gaborik is among several dozen volunteers who believe in the Santa cause, opening crates full of letters, as many as 12,000 a day come crunch time. With 6,000 now arriving daily, volunteers are hustling to send off preprinted replies to children who sent return addresses.

"We try to keep the big guy mystical, so we sign off as Santa's elves and helpers," Gaborik said.

In his 10 years as an elf, Gaborik has seen every kind of request. There are the children who want the latest toys and gizmos they see on TV. There are the children who ask for miracles, orphans wanting their mother back for Christmas or a father back from Iraq, even though he died there. Many letter writers point out how good they've been. Some enclose a dollar bill to cover postage.

Gaborik still marvels at a missive that arrived three years with a Michigan postmark and no postage stamp. It was addressed to Santa Claus and had no return address. Inside was a thousand-dollar money order and an anonymous note that said: "If you are who you say you are, you'll put this to good use."

Volunteers bought postage stamps for the effort.

"I believe Santa Claus has qualities that represent the good in everybody, and people reach out to that," Gaborik said. "Santa Claus represents their validation as a good person, when everything today is so quick, so hard, so bang, bang, bang." He fished a random letter out of a pile. This one ran the gamut. The writer, Ashley, wants only one thing, an iPod Nano, but then asks: "What list am I on, the naughty or nice list? If I'm on the naughty, what could I do to get of (sic)?" Then comes the hook: "And how many cookies do you think you can eat on Christmas night?"

No matter how cookies in the lure, Santa and his helpers never make any promises in writing.

Ideally, parents and other adults write their own Santa replies, put them in a stamped, self-addressed envelope and tuck them into a larger envelope addressed to the Fairbanks post office. Either way, replies get a North Pole postal cancellation mark, complete with a half-moon drawing of Santa's face. The Fairbanks post office also stamps the postmark on thousands of Christmas cards and packages diverted through Alaska from outside the state each year.

Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks also runs a Santa letter project. Santa's Mailbag was started in 1954 by base weather forecasters. Last year, more than 4,000 letters were received and followed up with replies from base volunteers. Many of the letters came from children of military families stationed in the lower 48 states and abroad, but civilian children also are welcome to write, said Staff Sgt. Melody Goode.

Even late letters get a reply, Goode said.

"It says something like 'Thanks for writing. Santa's been real busy,' anything the kiddies might want to hear," she said.

Everyone knows Santa and the North Pole is in Canada!!!???
ITN - that was a nice story - and Bear still believes !!

When I was five years old, visiting my friend's house for an afternoon of helping decorate their Christmas Tree an event was created which is still locked into memory. I remember hearing the news, the ornament I was holding to put on the tree, the smell of the tree, the woman's "wise" face staring down at me, feeling very bad that I had done something wrong.

I am reminded every Christmas season of the feeling I had - as if someone had punched me in the stomach - we have all experienced bad news and know that feeling - like we stop breathing for seconds too long and we are affected physically by something told to us.

My friend's mother for whatever "logical and rational reasoning of her own" informed me there was no Santa Claus. I don't remember the discussion which led up to her revealing message or that she told me
with cruelty in her heart - but she scarred me for days that year.... and for every Christmas thereafter.

I played the game of surprise that year when our tree had the usual Santa things under its beautiful decorations...and I was still hoping that "he" had left them for us.....I didn't ask my big sisters or brother about my news.....seemed better to keep it a secret but I was so very hurt.

Years of adult thought and trying to understand my friend's mother's reasons for telling me haven't taken away that loss..... that second-long journey from delighted and believing child .... into pretend child...

Santa means many things and I am pleased he is still around.... not in the old magical child-like way....but in spirit.... for he means only harm.... and embraces the hearts of so many in our world....
I cannot imagine a life without Santa's journey into our homes... even the non-believers.
Oh I still believe and go to great pains to keep him alive with my boys.

The death of childhood is the day Santa dies in your dreams. My oldest, is no longer a believer, but he understands my opinion, and helps with keep the sentiment alive with his little brother. Which is the most charitable thing he shows his little brother, lol.

Santa lives. Santa is real and if you ask my youngest, he'll tell you I have his phone number.
And not everyone believes in magic for the children - here's a story from Sea-Tac airport Seattle. It's a shame - I often changed flights in Sea-Tac so I could view their Christmas trees on display. You could not get a more "secular" image of the spirit of the time of year - and children made special trips out to the airport to see them.


'Tis not the season at Sea-Tac Airport

By April Zepeda

Watch the video
There will be no more Christmas trees at Sea-Tac Airport this season after the Port of Seattle received at least one complaint about them.

For more than 25 years, the airport has celebrated the holidays with Christmas trees over its entrances. But overnight, the Port of Seattle ordered all 15 trees removed.

"I think it's very unfortunate. Why lose the Christmas spirit? Christmas is for kids," said passenger Lisa Jones.

The Port allowed "holiday" decorations to remain but decided to take down all the Christmas trees after a Jewish religious leader complained they were offensive.

"It's a Christmas tree! It's not like they were displaying crucifixes or menorahs or anything religious, but Christmas trees that have been around here for years," said an employee who asked not to be identified.

The Port of Seattle says it had little choice. It says a Seattle rabbi with the Central Organization for Jewish Learning hired an attorney and threatened to sue if the airport did not erect an eight-foot menorah to balance the message of the Christmas trees.

According to an airport spokeswoman, the two sides could not reach an agreement before the lawsuit was to be filed, so the trees were removed instead.

Angry airport employees have started a campaign urging people to call the Port of Seattle to complain.

The Christmas trees are now in storage or hidden in unused areas of the airport where they won't be seen.

The airline companies, which lease space in the airport, are not being required to remove decorations from their check-in counters.

Rachel Garson with the Port of Seattle said they would revisit the issue of Christmas trees after the holidays are over.

"Since this is the busiest time of year we decided to take the decorations down now and consider a new policy after the new year." said Garson.

I think not
Not a surprising story Curio, the people of "Cascadia" have been dumb struck by PC a long time ago.

And the people of Emerald City have embraced all people from all lands and religious belief - they just haven't come to a consensus about some public offerings I guess.

If we lose the spirit of Santa we are robbing our children of some wonderful and exciting times leading up to the day of matter who we worship. It is truly a day of love.
I think not
Sea-Tac airport officials reacted in a knee-jerk kind of way. One person complained and they scrambled to take down the Christmas trees, an evergreen, in an evergreen state.

Who the hell gets offended by a tree with decorations, I know Jews in New York that put up Christmas trees.

Merry Christmas!
I just wish someone would explain to me how Santa can get all his mail delivered on time while it takes a letter three days to cross the city I live in!...

Merry Christmas to every one...even my many atheist friends keeping track of me...
The Seattle story was carried on CN this morning. That was very foolish of the Jewish leader to complain. Israel needs all the friends it can get in the US and Canada today and this display of childishness ain't going to improve the state's domestic or international standing. If I was a Jewish resident of Seattle I'd tell the rabbi to shut his mouth. If I was a city resident I'd tell airport administration to get some balls...before they drop off the trees, of course.

Merry Christmas to you dear guy...... it must be wonderful living in New York at Christmas! So many beautiful decorations where big and little kids get to enjoy everything and I hardly think most of the
celebrating and happiness has much religious connotation at all....

Everyone is included if they open up their hearts and find pleasure in the concept of giving and love.
Quote: Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post


Merry Christmas to you dear guy...... it must be wonderful living in New York at Christmas! So many beautiful decorations where big and little kids get to enjoy everything and I hardly think most of the
celebrating and happiness has much religious connotation at all....

Everyone is included if they open up their hearts and find pleasure in the concept of giving and love.

Yes it will be a marvellous Christmas I'm sure even in Harlem and the ghettos of the financial capital of North America...

There are "ghettos" in all large cities - and I think New York is working hard to clean up these areas of intense poverty....

It is only that New York (both bad and good) gets on film more for us to judge than many other places...
My daughter saw Santa last week, then a day later got his reply to her letter she sent to postal code HOHOHO. He talked about being at the North Pole and working with the elves. Today he's back in town. He sure gets around.

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