'Dear Santa' letters no longer forwarded to North Pole

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Posted: Nov 19, 2009 10:13 AM by Kelly Spell
Updated: Nov 19, 2009 10:18 AM
Source: Associated Press

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Topics: Santa, letters, North Pole, Postal Service, mail, USPS, Alaska, volunteers, sex offender

Children who mail letters to the North Pole probably won't get a response from Santa or his helpers this year.

The U.S. Postal Service is dropping a popular effort begun in 1954 in the small town of North Pole, in Alaska's interior, where volunteers reply to around 150,000 letters addressed to Santa each year.

Officials say they're trying to protect the privacy of the children, after a volunteer in the agency's Operation Santa program was recognized as a registered sex offender last year in Maryland.

Another postal worker interceded before the individual could answer a child's letter.

The Postal Service now prohibits volunteers in such programs to have access to children's last names and addresses.

People in North Pole are incensed by the change, likening the Postal Service to the Grinch trying to steal Christmas. The letter program is a revered holiday tradition there.

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