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Christmas is 365 Days a Year in Santa Claus, Indiana

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It’s Christmas all year round in the small town of Santa Claus, Indiana.

Each year, thousands of letters written to Santa make their way to the small town’s Santa Claus Post Office, which has been the headquarters for Santa’s helpers for more than 100 years.

Last year, the town received more than 22,000 letters. And with less than two weeks to go until the big day, Emily Thompson, director of the Santa Claus Museum and Village, told CBS News they’re on track to exceed that.

“We’ve done a little over 12,000 letters so far,” Thompson said. “Our elf just picked up the letters this morning — three crates of mail that came in. We have a lot of letters.”

Every child who writes Santa is guaranteed to get a response, as long as they make the town’s Dec. 21 deadline.

“The largest volume of mail comes before Thanksgiving,” Thompson said. “That’s when we’re going to the post office twice a day to pick up hundreds and hundreds of letters.”

Santa Claus is a town in Spencer County, Indiana, United States, in the southwestern part of the state. Located in Carter, Clay and Harrison Townships, it sits between Interstate 64 and the Ohio River. The population was 2,481 at the 2010 census, making it the largest community in Spencer County.

The town was established in 1854 and known as Santa Fe (pronounced “fee”). In 1856, when the town was working to establish a post office, the United States Postal Service refused their first application as there was already a Santa Fe, Indiana established with the USPS. Several town meetings were held, during which the name Santa Claus was selected.

The community of Santa Claus was designed in 1849. The story of how it received the name of Santa Claus has roots both in fact and legend. In January 1856 the town applied for a post office to be installed. They submitted their application under the name of Santa Fe. The application was returned to them with the message, “Choose some name other than Santa Fe.” The process of settling upon the name of Santa Claus has been lost to legend. There are many different versions of the story and there were other choices as well that the town did not settle upon. What is known is that in 1856, the name of Santa Claus was accepted by the Post Office Department.

The town has the world’s only post office to bear the name of Santa Claus. Because of this popular name, the post office receives thousands of letters to Santa from all over the world each year. A group of volunteers known as Santa’s Elves ensures each child receives a reply from Santa Claus; this tradition has been in existence since at least 1914.

Every year, the post office also creates a special Christmas hand-cancellation pictorial postmark for use during December, which also attracts mail from all over the world. The pictorial postmark is chosen each year from submissions from art students at nearby high schools.

There have been several notable residents and former residents of Santa Claus, Indiana.

  • Jay Cutler, professional football quarterback, Chicago Bears
  • Jon Goldsberry – professional football athlete; former Purdue Boilermakers fullback/linebacker
  • Bob Griese – Hall of Fame NFL Quarterback
  • Del Harris – former NBA basketball coach
  • Arad McCutchan – former college basketball coach

Pop Culture & Trivia

  • The town was featured in a RadioShack national television commercial in 2008.
  • In December 2010, the town museum was involved in a Coca-Cola Christmas project called Santa’s Forgotten Letters.
  • In December 2011, the town was named one of the World’s Top Christmas Destinations by Forbes magazine.

via CBS News

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