Got the perfect letter? Here's where to send it
Creators News Service
First comes the list. Then comes the letter. If you're lucky, you'll get a response.
This year kids don't have to wonder whether Santa received their carefully crafted correspondence. His elves are making sure that every good boy and girl gets a personal note from Old St. Nick -- and watching to see that he hits all his stops on Christmas Eve.
Parents can help ensure that letters to Santa arrive as quickly and safely as possible. Assist children when addressing and putting stamps on their letters to reduce errors that might delay delivery, and be sure to include a complete return address with ZIP code.
Like other letters, letters to Santa need no extra packaging material, such as string or tape; the glue on the envelope does the trick.
Finally, while Santa appreciates the gesture, cookies and candy can be damaged or crushed when sent in a regular envelope, so it's best to save the treats for Christmas Eve.
SANTA'S SUMMER HOME
Did you know Santa receives mail at his summer home in Indiana? Rest assured, he responds to each and every letter sent to the town with his legendary namesake.
Letters to Santa have been making their way to Santa Claus, Ind., for almost a century. The Santa Claus postmaster answered the first letter in 1914, and the town hasn't missed a year since.
Santa's Elves, Inc., a non-profit organization, now oversees the responses and ensures that postage costs are covered. The group works with the American Legion, the Christmas Lake Village Garden Club, local senior citizens and other volunteers to answer as many as 10,000 letters each year.
To contact Santa at his Indiana home, mail to: Santa Claus, PO Box 1, Santa Claus, IN 47579. Mail letters by December 10, and be sure to include a legible return address. Donations to help cover postage costs may be sent to the same address.
DIRECT TO THE NORTH POLE
Kids can also send wish lists and letters directly to Santa's North Pole workshop in Alaska.
The elves at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) are busy on-site making sure Mr. Claus receives each holiday wish list sent to Santa Claus, 325 South Santa Claus Lane, North Pole, AK 99705.
To guarantee a response, parents can send Santa's reply in a second envelope to the Fairbanks, Alaska post office. His busy holiday helpers will postmark the response and mail it back to the child.
Place Santa's response in a stamped envelope addressed to the child. Use North Pole, AK, as the return address. Place the envelope in a larger, properly stamped First-Class Mail or Priority Mail envelope and send it to: North Pole Christmas Cancellation, Postmaster, 5400 Mail Trail, Fairbanks AK 99709-9998.
To receive responses in time for Christmas, North Pole postmark requests must arrive in Fairbanks, Alaska, before Dec. 15.
EYE ON THE SKY
With letters in hand, kids will get a kick out of tracking Santa's progress as he delivers gifts and spreads holiday cheer to children worldwide.
On Christmas Eve, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) will put their high-tech radar, satellites, jet fighters and Santa Cams to work and track St. Nick's flight from the North Pole in a project called NORAD Tracks Santa.
More than 900 volunteers will man 100 phone lines and 20 computers at the Santa Tracking Operations Center at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., answering phone calls and e-mails from children around the world.
Using Google Earth, NORAD Tracks Santa displays the precise location of Santa's reindeer and sleigh. Maps are refreshed every five minutes to show each of Santa's stops.
The website, noradsanta.org, draws more than a billion hits in just 24 hours, so be patient when you click on the link.