It’s December and you know what that means? The 2017 Santa Claus Holiday Postmark is officially available! We caught up with Santa Claus Postmistress Marian Balbach to get the scoop on what you need to know.
The Santa Claus, Indiana, Post Office is the only post office in the world with Santa’s name. And back in 1983, this special, small-town post office began offering a picture postmark during the month of December.
How is the Santa Claus Postmark Chosen?
Each year, designing a holiday postmark is an optional project in Mrs. Brown’s art class at Heritage Hills High School. There are guidelines such as size, using black ink, including Santa in the drawing, ensuring “Santa Claus Station” is included, etc. Students enter the annual contest and one drawing is selected to be the Santa Claus Postmark. This postmark is stamped onto more than 400,000 pieces of mail each December.
This year’s special picture postmark was designed by Audrey Vaal, of St. Meinrad, Indiana. Audrey graduated Heritage Hills High School in the spring of 2017 and now attends the University of Southern Indiana.
How Busy is the Santa Claus Post Office in December?
We asked Postmistress Marian this question and, the answer? “Busy.”
She notes that patrons from all over the world request this picture postmark each year, and many travel hundreds of miles to personally hand cancel their holiday mail with the Santa Claus Postmark.
Although there isn’t a headcount to tell us how many people visit the post office to get this postmark, Marian says the lobby is always full and at times there is a wait to use one of several stamps available on site.
What Does the Santa Claus Postmark Cost?
It’s free. That’s right, there is no charge for postmarking. There is a limit of 50 hand cancellations per person per day but that’s it. The Santa Claus postmark is only available at the Santa Claus, Indiana, Post Office on working days between December 1 and 23, 2017.
If you’re interested in receiving the special picture postmark, check out the full list of guidelines here.
“Ready as we’re going to be!” was the response when we asked the postal team if they were ready for the postmark season. Here we go!