Letters to Santa increase despite e-mail
GENEVA - Text messages, e-mails and social networking are challenging traditional mail but Santa Claus at least is receiving more and more old-fashioned letters, according to the world's postmen.
The Universal Postal Union said on Tuesday that letters to Santa Claus, or Father Christmas, continue to grow at a clip that will top the 6 million notes sent in 2006.
Spokesman Laurent Widmer said it was too soon to estimate a final tally because many letters are sent in the final week before Christmas, or even after the holiday. But checks with union members showed the number of letters was increasing.
"Santa has over five million helpers round the world to answer his mail and deliver the millions of greeting cards, parcels and letters that circulate during the holiday season," the group representing 191 countries said in a statement.
The letters, often addressed simply "To Santa, North Pole" might normally be regarded as undeliverable and marked "addressee unknown," the union said.
But many national post offices reply, including those of France and Canada which each received more than 1 million missives to Father Christmas last year, it said.
In 2006 Finland received letters from 150 countries, representing 90 percent of the letters received by Santa Claus in Finland. The U.S. Postal Service has been answering Santa's letters since 1912. And in Canada, Santa has his own post code -- HOH OHO.
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