Letters to Santa Claus...Where Do They Actually Go?
by: Mark Bulleit
In anticipation of the most magical time of year, a child poetically articulates on paper exactly what she wants for Christmas, pleading her case as to why she overwhelmingly deserves everything for which she is asking. Then, with the greatest of care, she places her magical letter into an envelope, writes "To Santa Claus" on the face, attaches the postage stamp Mom gave her to use, and carries it to the mailbox. Then, of course, the mail carrier grabs the letter and off it goes.
Well, to little Abigail who wrote the letter, there is no question as to where the letter is heading...Santa Claus, of course. But would you be surprised if I told you that little Abigail is most likely exactly right?
It was 1852 and the Christmas Eve church service had just concluded. Being that the whole town was present, it was a good time to hold the final town meeting of the year. You see, for years, this small town in Spencer County of southern Indiana, founded in the late 1840's, had been known as the "nameless town." This was simply because the settlers, of mostly German descent, could not decide on a name.
All were gathered around the pot-bellied stove, including the children...although quiet and not really participating, were included in the most important town meetings. As the frustrating discussion of naming the town continued, a chilly December gust blew open the wooden doors of this small log church, and it was the adults who fell silent as the youngsters came to life. With a magical scene of snowflakes glistening on black velvet, mysterious sleigh bells were heard through the picture-framed doorway. It was then the children, almost in one, simultaneous voice exclaimed, "Santa Claus, it's Santa Claus!"
It was so...one Christmas Eve, over 150 years ago, the little nameless town finally got its name. Santa Claus, Indiana as it is still named to this day.
As you may have guessed, this small town of just over 2,000 residents is all about Christmas. From the town's name to the names on the street signs, as well as witnessing the town's village décor, the holiday spirit year-round is very evident.
Each and every Christmas season, hundreds of thousands of letters arrive at the town's small post office. In fact, this post office handles more mail, many times over, during the holidays than it does all other months combined! These letters, often inscribed in crayon but with the utmost sincerity, have but one name addressed on the envelope's face. Yeah, you guessed it...Santa Claus.