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.” (Read more North Pole stories.)