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Special> Video> Beijing Review Exclusive
UPDATED: December 24, 2010
Letters to Santa


Sending a letter to Santa Claus before Christmas is a timeless activity that children the world over have enjoyed for decades. Santa Claus' official post office has made the practice even more enjoyable by issuing official postmarked envelopes for children to use when mailing their letters.

The post office is located in the Arctic Circle, 8 km away from the Finnish Lapland. The office's logo was designed by Finnish artist Pekka Vuori. It attracts 400,000 visitors every year; about 90 percent are from countries other than Finland. Santa Claus has received nearly 14 million letters since opening in 1985.

Marja has worked at the post office for more than 20 years. She started out as a receptionist before becoming a mail dispatcher about three years ago.

Marja said that the post office receives about 500,000 letters every year. The office sells empty envelopes with the official Santa Claus postmark for three Euro a piece. The profits are given to UNICEF, the international children's charity.

Every postcard, letter or parcel is stamped with Santa Claus's official postmark, which also happens to be the official postmark of the Arctic Circle. The postmark was designed by Finnish artist Tapani Talari.

Santa Claus received 10,000 letters from China in 2009. During the spring of 2010, Santa replied to 40,000 letters in 12 languages, including English, French, Italian and Chinese.

(Reporting from Rovaniemi, Finland)


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