More than 500,000 messages for Santa sent to Finland’s Arctic

Elves get around to opening Santa's letters by the spring. Image: Marjukka Talvitie / Yle Children of the world haven’t given up on sending their Christmas wish lists to Santa. This year Santa’s workshop in the city of  Rovaniemi, in Finland’s Arctic Lapland province, expects to receive more than half a million letters from kids who hope they’ve been good enough to get a visit from the white-bearded do-gooder. Most come from Britain, Italy, Romania and Japan.

So far Santa’s post office has processed about 250,000 incoming letters from around the world. At this pace, Santa would have received as many letters as last year – around 550,000.

Many may be written in exotic languages and oddly addressed – for example Reindeer Land or Santa World – but hundreds of thousands of letters eventually find their way to Santa’s mail box in the Arctic Circle.

Even if they don’t receive an immediate response, little correspondents can be sure that Santa’s elves open all the letters addressed to him. Philatelists or stamp enthusiasts from Lapland are usually on hand to help the elves with the enormous task.

“The letters must all be opened, because they may contain drawings, candy or raisins,” explained postal elf Auli.

Those who remember to include a return address on their missives can expect to get a response by the following summer. About six percent in one million letter writers receive responses.

Christmas email increasingAuli the Elf advises Santa's correspondents to stick to traditional snail mail. Image: Marjukka Talvitie / Yle

Although some children stick to traditional snail mail to communicate with Santa, many are reaching out electronically via email.

“Unfortunately the old-fashioned method is losing popularity as many are trying to contact Santa by email or even by phone. But letters are still holding their own,” said Auli the Elf.

Emails addressed to Santa most often come via businesses operating in the official Santa’s village, since Santa still doesn’t have a personal email address.

Some die-hard believers are even turning to messages sent via the social networking site Facebook to contact their favourite Christmas character.

“Of course these are acknowledged. Even Santa has his own Facebook page that the elves monitor, he doesn’t have email. But the traditional letters are the best of all,” Auli said.

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