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Germany's Santa Doesn't Accept E-Mail
Der Spiegel ^ | December 16th 2010 | Simon Andreas Book

Posted on 12/19/2010 1:01:12 PM PST by Cardhu

German children have been sending letters to Santa Claus for several decades now. Volunteers at special Christmas post offices write back to tens of thousands of kids each year. But, unlike in the US or France, Father Christmas in Germany won't be going online any time soon.

On a recent December morning, Gabriele Rochau was visiting a school in the Bavarian city of Munich. Outside, it was freezing cold and wet. But Rochau was there to conjure up completely different visions of winter in the heads of the children: snow, Christmas tree decorations, gifts and other trappings of the festive season.

The 56-year-old sat in front of the first graders at Munich's St Anna elementary school. The lesson plan included writing letters -- or in some cases drawing letters, as many of the children were still too young to write properly.

The addressee for their efforts is the Christkind (Christ Child), the southern German counterpart to Father Christmas. In the letters, the children communicate their Christmas wishes, either through pictures, by cutting out photographs from catalogues or by sending colorfully decorated words.

Since the 1960s, there have been certain post offices in Germany that will even answer those letters. It all started with a few isolated letters. They ended up in distribution offices but nobody really knew where to send them. As a result, postal workers would often open the undeliverable letters in their free time and simply answer them themselves.

Post Office at Heaven's Door

But although that approach worked fine with a small number of letters, it wasn't long before a more professional system was needed. The number of letters rose every year. In 1965, Germany's first "Christmas post office" opened in Himmelsthür, part of the city of Hildesheim in Lower Saxony whose name, appropriately, means "heaven's door."

(Excerpt) Read more at spiegel.de ...


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: emails; germany; santa
Santa Doesn't Do Digital

In fact, the only correspondence that Santa's helpers in Germany won't answer is e-mail. In the US, things are different. The American Santa Claus gets fewer actual letters, receiving just 11,000 in 2009. Most children in the US send their wish lists via e-mail: Almost half a million e-mails arrive every year at the Christmas post office in the town of Santa Claus, Indiana, which has been receiving Santa's mail since 1856.

1 posted on 12/19/2010 1:01:17 PM PST by Cardhu
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To: Cardhu

Growing up, we kids were terrified of Belznickel!

http://www.yorkblog.com/yorktownsquare/2008/11/belsnickle-from-weekly.html


2 posted on 12/19/2010 1:05:12 PM PST by eCSMaster
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To: eCSMaster
Growing up, we kids were terrified of Belznickel!

I don't blame you but this Santa looks much more benign than Belsnickle


3 posted on 12/19/2010 1:15:04 PM PST by Cardhu
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To: eCSMaster
Wow. I didn't know about that guy. I wish we used that character instead of Santa. Imagine how much money I could save if I threatened to have Belznickel come into the house to deliver the toys. The kid would say "Screw that. I don't want that guy getting in the house no matter what he is bringing".


4 posted on 12/19/2010 1:19:04 PM PST by Lazlo in PA (Now living in a newly minted Red State.)
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To: Cardhu
In fact, the only correspondence that Santa's helpers in Germany won't answer is e-mail.

Good. E-mail sort of sucks the spirit of Christmas right out of things, I'd say. Hey kids! Learn to write a proper letter!

5 posted on 12/19/2010 1:42:14 PM PST by Moltke ('Tis very strange. - Hamlet)
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