Postmarking the start of the holiday season, the Santa Claus post office is now offering its special holiday cancellation.
Since 1983, the post office in Santa Claus, Indiana issues a unique pictorial postmark each year. The 2020 design was drawn by Summer Weedman and features a jolly Santa. The Circular date dial is transformed into a chocolate chip cookie, with a nearby cup of hot chocolate.
As the only post office in the world with Santa’s name, the office in Santa Claus receives thousands of letters each holiday season. The town in southwestern Indiana is home to numerous Christmas themed attractions, including Holiday World theme park and Santa Claus Museum and Village.
While some of the town’s famous Christmas celebrations have been altered this year due to COVID-19 (such as replacing the annual parade with a firework show and hosting socially distanced outdoor Santa meet-and-greets) the traditional postmark remains a safe Christmas staple.
Each spring, upperclassmen at Heritage Hills High School are invited to submit artwork for the year’s postmark. Art teacher Kimberly Brown encouraged her students to enter their designs in April, just as COVID-19 restrictions were starting. Weedman said she saw the contest as something to do during lockdown. “I just did it for fun because I like to draw.”
Submissions from other students included various takes on Santa Claus and reindeer. “A lot of people drew reindeer,” Weedman recalled, “I wanted to draw something a little different.” Weedman drew three or four designs before finally settling on her winning submission, which she said took about fifteen minutes to draw. She was excited to hear that her design was chosen.
The postmark isn’t 18-year-old Weedman’s first experience with art competitions – her drawing of a dog was awarded 8th place at the 2019-2020 National Beta Club Convention.
She takes special pride in this postmark, however, because of its connection to her family. Her great great grandfather, Oscar Philipps, was Postmaster of the town from 1935 until his death in 1947.
During his time as postmaster, Philipps was tasked with handling the millions of additional letters that arrived at the small post office every holiday season.
Even before the tradition of designing a pictorial postmark, collectors from all over the world forwarded their mail to Santa Claus just to get the town’s name as a cancellation.
Although Weedman will not be taking up Philipp’s tasks of sorting and hand stamping each letter, she will be leaving her mark on Christmas mail this year.
Letter writers and stamp collectors can request a postmark by packaging their preaddressed stamped envelopes and mailing them to the Santa Claus post office:
P.O. Box 9998,
Santa Claus, IN 47579-9998
Customers can also visit the Post Office in Santa Claus (mask required) during regular business hours to personally handstamp their own letters.
Weedman currently attends Vincennes University at the Jasper campus, roughly 20 miles north of Santa Claus. She is studying to be a nurse, a decision she partially attributes to her aunt who works in the field. “I just enjoy talking to people and helping others.”
2020 Santa Claus postmark by Summer Weedman. Photograph courtesy of the Spencer County Visitors Bureau.
Photograph of Oscar Philipps– Photograph from the Evansville Press, published December 10, 1939.