No reply from Santa Claus of Greenland

Santa Claus will no longer reply to children who send their Christmas wish lists to his official post office box in Nuuk, Greenland without the standard DKK 80 postage fee

Some 25,000 children around the world who sent unfranked wish lists to Santa Claus this year needn't bother checking their mail for a reply from the jolly old elf. Santa Claus can't afford the return postage.

Greenland's Home Rule Government has discontinued its traditional subsidies Santa Claus of Greenland, the company behind the Santa Claus trademark.

"Santa Claus is now in the position of having to find the money for himself," said Anders Læsøe, the self-styled "best friend" of Santa at Santa Claus of Greenland, which is staffed entirely by volunteers.

Speaking with daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten, Læsøe explained that times had changed, and that Santa Claus would have to adapt to the rules of the open market.

"Santa Claus is in what you might call a transition period, as we move from government financing under Greenland's national budget, to being a 100 percent independent enterprise. We're presently in a situation in which Santa Claus needs to be adaptable," said Læsøe.

For that reason, Santa Claus has refrained from answering the many wish lists he has received from youngsters around the world this year. But children with Internet access needn't fret.

"People can log in to our homepage and click on what's known as the 'wishing well.' From there, you can send an email with your Christmas wishes and get an email reply from Santa Claus free of charge," said Læsøe.

Old-fashioned types who cling to the nostalgia of receiving Santa Claus letters on paper will have to shell out for postage. A standard letter from Denmark to Greenland costs DKK 35, not including a special handling fee of DK 45. The handling fee is paid just once, no matter how many letters are sent in a single envelope.

But there are other options open to Danish children - that is, if they're willing to admit that the "real" Santa Claus lives not in Greenland, but near the Arctic Circle in Finland.

"Santa Claus' post office near the Arctic Circle receives 500,000 letters a year. They do send replies, but only if the original letter is decorated and doesn't just include a wish list. Ideally, the child should tell a little about themselves and their family," said Anne Lind, winter product manager at Finland's national tourist bureau.

But even the Finnish Santa is tardy in sending back mail. Replies from the Santa satellite office aren't sent until spring, unless parents enclose a seven-euro expedition fee to have their youngster's letter sent before Christmas.

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