YOUNG WORLD

Santa's post

A post office in Germany that receives a quarter of a million "Dear Santa Claus" letters every year has stocked up with replies, even in Japanese this year as children around the world pen their Christmas requests.

While American children assume Santa's workshop is at the North Pole, German children traditionally address their Christmas wishes to Himmelpfort, which literally means Heaven's Gate, the name of a small town 80 kilometres north of Berlin.

Santa's helpers in Himmelpfort post a friendly standard reply back to every child in their own language.

AT HEAVEN'S GATE: A quarter of a million `Dear Santa' letters. PHOTO: REUTERS

AT HEAVEN'S GATE: A quarter of a million `Dear Santa' letters. PHOTO: REUTERS  

Post office spokeswoman Sylvia Blesing said the 12 languages of replies had been expanded this year to include Japanese, Dutch and Hungarian. Last year, the office wrote back to 250,000 children. "16798 Himmelpfort" — Santa's full address with zip code — also responds in Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, English, French, German, Italian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

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