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Postage woes force Santa to put down pen

Fri., Dec. 24, 2004

COPENHAGEN, Denmark – The jolly man in the red suit is being pinched by Greenland’s belt-tightening, meaning 25,000 children worldwide will not get a reply to their letters to Santa Claus.

In 2002, the government stopped giving Santa Claus of Greenland $306,000 to pay the postage for those replies. The company, which is run by Tele Greenland Group and staffed by volunteers, cannot pay for the stamps itself.

“We have been forced to do this,” Anders Laesoe, who identified himself as Santa’s aide, said Thursday. “It’s a sad and terrible thing for children who don’t understand this.”

The company, based in Nuuk, Greenland, is looking for help from individuals and sponsors for next year, Laesoe said.

Greenland, like Finland, Sweden and Norway, claims to be the real home of Santa Claus and markets him as an ambassador for the island territory.

“As for now, we don’t have the money for next year, either,” said Laesoe, an employee with Tele Greenland Group.

But not all is lost, he said. The group’s Web site gets hundreds of e-mails from children worldwide and the volunteer elves have made sure their missives got an answer.

“Santa replies to each and every e-mail sent to him,” Laesoe promised. “Stamps are not needed on e-mails.”


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