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Santa Claus might have one incredibly busy night each year, but considering how many letters he gets, he'd probably have to spend the other 364 days answering them – if not for the United States Postal Service, that is.
Since 1912, the USPS has been doing its best to respond to the thousands of letters that children send to Santa each year. It all started when then-Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock gave local postmasters the go-ahead to open and answer the mail. The success of this initiative compelled the postal service to get the public involved, and beginning in the 1940s, businesses, charities, and regular people were invited to get in on the fun. "Operation Santa" has grown to be much more than just written responses to the letters in Santa's mailbag. Nowadays, anyone can fulfill a child's written wish by sending Christmas gifts to the letter sender. In 2021, 21,275 lucky kids and families got their yuletide wishes granted, with all of the packages appearing to have come from the North Pole.
- In 1639, the Boston home (and tavern) of a man named Richard Fairbanks became the first official post office in America.
- Until 1971, the U.S. Postmaster General was a member of the Cabinet and in line to succeed the president.
- Postage stamps were first produced in 1847 as a result of ongoing problems with a system in which receivers, not senders, had to pay postage.