Are your holiday cards addressed and ready to mail? Consider taking a road trip to Santa Claus, Indiana to send them. This small-town post office is the only one in the world with the Santa Claus name and receives over 400,000 pieces of mail in December. During the rest of the year, only 13,000 pieces of mail are processed each month. The Santa Claus Post Office has offered a special “picture postmark” every holiday season since 1983.
Each year, the holiday postmark is designed by a local high school art student as part of an annual contest. This year’s winner is Shelbi Boehman, of Fulda, Indiana. The Santa Claus holiday postmark has become the most popular in the nation over the past two decades,” says Postmaster Marian Balbach. “Postal patrons worldwide request the picture postmark each year and many customers traditionally drive hundreds of miles to personally obtain the famous cancellation on their holiday mail,” says Balbach.
The first Santa Claus Post Office opened its doors in 1856. The town’s name did not peak interest until 1914 when Santa Claus’ 14th postmaster, James Martin, took it upon himself to answer the children’s letters addressed to Santa Claus.
Soon after, people flocked to the Santa Claus Post Office to get the special postmark; so much that in the early 1930’s the US Postal Department suggested changing the name of the town to avoid the Christmas season frenzy. Fortunately, for everyone, that did not happen!
James Martin continued answering children’s letters and eventually enlisted Jim Yellig to aid in helping write back to the children. Today, the non-profit organization, Santa’s Elves and the Santa Claus Museum, organize volunteers to answer all the children’s letters that flood this tiny post office during the holidays. Approximately 12,000 letters are answered each year.
Postmaster Balbach asks that anyone interested in getting the special cancellation on their holiday mail follow these guidelines:
• Allow at least a 2-inch by 4-inch space in the stamp area for the picture postmark
• Apply postage to cards or letters before bringing or mailing them to the post office
• If you wish to mail Christmas cards to the post office, package them—with postage stamps already on them—in a sturdy envelope or box, and mail to: Postmaster, Santa Claus Station, Santa Claus, IN 47579-9998
• The picture postmark is available on working days between December 1 and 24
• The picture postmark must be requested by the postal customer
• To ensure a good postmark imprint, do not enclose large or bulky items in your holiday mail (Ex: reindeer food, snowflakes, glitter, stickers, etc.)
• There is no charge for postmarking; however, there is a limit of 50 picture postmarks (hand cancellations) per person per day
America’s Christmas Hometown:
Santa Claus, Indiana, will host a celebration of family fun on the first three weekends in December. Events include a traditional Christmas Dinner with Santa; lighting of America’s Hometown Christmas Tree; “Santa Claus Land of Lights,” a 1.2-mile driving journey; Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire and much more.
For more information or a schedule of Christmas events in Spencer County, visit www.LegendaryPlaces.org/special-events or call the Visitors Bureau at (888) 444-9252.
Santa Claus Post Office
Santa Claus, IN 47579