Post Office Drops North Pole Letter Program
Cancellation infuriates Santa's helpers in Alaska town
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2009 12:18 PM CST
Santa Claus, (aka Patrick Farmer), at Santa Claus House in North Pole, Alaska, Nov. 18, 2009, holds letters from children sent this year that the Postal Service says they will no longer deliver.   (AP Photo/Sam Harrel)

(Newser) – Furious North Pole residents are accusing the Postal Service of playing Grinch by ending its letters to Santa program—because it attracted a sex offender. Since 1954, the Postal Service has happily sent letters to Santa to North Pole, Alaska, where volunteers respond and mail them back with a North Pole postmark. But the program has been canceled, in part because a registered sex offender was found volunteering in the Operation Santa program in Maryland.

That prompted a tightening of the program’s rules nationwide. All addresses and last names on the letters must now be redacted and replaced with a code known only to the Postal Service—which is more work than many post offices are willing or able to do. More important to North Pole residents, they’ve stopped receiving anything addressed to “Santa Claus, North Pole.” “It’s Grinchlike,” says one resident, who’s especially incensed that the USPS “never informed all the little elves before the fact.”