In a small Alaska town called North Pole, volunteers gather every year to send out thousands of letters from Santa to kids throughout the country. They’ve been doing this every Christmas for the past 54 years. It’s a tradition that’s brought joy to countless little kids.
Apparently this year the U.S. Postal Service is staffed by Grinches. They moved last week to shut the program down because of an incident last year involving a sex offender.
The incident: last year in Maryland, a postal worker caught a registered sex offender trying to volunteer for their local Santa letter-writing program, and quickly weeded said sex offender out of the volunteer pool before he or she ever got to write any letters.
This incident was, according to the AP, “a big enough scare to tighten rules in such programs nationwide”. The AP does not tell us if the sex offender in question was a pedophile or just some dude who got drunk and mooned the wrong cop.
To be clear, “the incident” in question was that the existing safeguards against exposing children to pervy imposter Santas worked perfectly. No child was harmed in the creation of this postal panic attack. Yet the Postal Service took it as a sign that their system was endangering America’s precious babies, not working exactly as it was designed to keep them safe.
Even the Grinch grows a heart, though. After an outcry by the citizens of North Pole, Alaska, members of Alaska’s congressional delegation interceded on behalf of the tiny town’s long tradition.
On Friday, the Post Office reversed its decision and agreed to allow the program to go forward. But only under stringent new guidelines that will prevent volunteers from knowing, for example, the name or address of a child they are writing to.
The new restrictions don’t affect privately run letter efforts, and a group of North Pole volunteers will be running their own letter-writing campaign. They’ve been given a special address for the purpose: 1 Santa Claus Lane, North Pole, AK 99705.
If you want to do it the old-fashioned way, you can just send your letter to Santa Claus, North Pole. The kids should get a letter back with a real North Pole postmark on it. It’s the perfect thing to hoodwink your suspicious five-year-old into another year of believing in Santa.