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Letters to Santa!

I still remember sending my first letter to Santa. I was in kindergarten and hadn't learnt how to write yet... so I decided to draw my wishlist instead! And, lo and behold, Santa did reply a few weeks later, letting me know he had gotten my letter and would see what he could do about it — I was beyond myself with excitement! :)

I stopped writing letters to Santa some time ago, but remained quite fond of these traditions that make holidays special. So today I wanted to pass along the links to Christmas Post Offices around the world, which many of you have been sharing with us on our Facebook page.

Letters to Santa

So far, we've heard of special services in:

Pass them on to parents of small children — or help the little ones write/draw their own letter to Santa!

If your country has a special service for the holidays which isn't featured here, just post the link in the comments and we'll add it.


Posted by on 24 Nov, 2014
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Meet Postwoman Deb!

Since Postman Pieter's post last month was so popular, we've decided to officially open the blog to more postal workers. We want to know about the trustworthy men and women who sort and deliver your mail! What is it like for them, to work for the post office? How different is the job these days? And do they enjoy postcards as much as we do?

Deb (aka iphoto) from Australia asked all of these questions to her postwoman — who is also called Deb! :) Postwoman Deb

Postwoman Deb has worked for Australia Post for 32 years. She has been sorting the mail at the Pacific Fair Shopping Centre for the past 4 and before that Deb was a "postie" (delivering mail on a push-bike and walking with a backpack), a night sorter, a retail shop counter officer and a delivery centre admin. She and our Deb (iphoto) share many morning smiles while going over the quips and quotes on the many treasured postcards that go "down under"!

How has your job changed since you first started? Did it get easier, or just different, and in what ways?

When I first started with Australia Post all mail procedures were a lot more manual, there were very few female posties and many more people were still sending letters and postcards. Things are more automated now with most people emailing each other instead.

What do you think about all the postcards the Deb (iphoto) receives?

When I first noticed that Deb (iphoto) was receiving frequent amounts of postcards I actually confirmed with her that it was ok for me to read them... they often bring a smile to my day and I find them interesting and insightful!

Postwoman Deb
Do you ever receive snail mail/ postcards yourself?

When Deb (iphoto) and her treasure Wayne travel they send me a postcard for my office wall. Occasionally when friends travel overseas, I find a joyful account of their travels in my letterbox at home when I get home from work — always a pleasant surprise!

Do you enjoy looking at the postcards that you sort each day?

YES! Postcards have always provided an insight into other countries with their scenic snapshots & candid descriptions from travelers. Postcrossing postcards are a little different in that the sender actually lives in the country of origin, so they give a first-hand report of life in their country.

Postwoman Deb
What are some of the funnier things people complain to you about problems with the mail service?

Over the three decades I've worked for Australia Post I've heard all manner of complaints and compliments...

As a postie, the most common catch cry from customers was " I don't want it if it's got a window" (here in Australia, envelopes with "windows" are probably bills) usually followed by a chuckle!

And when I worked in administration at a delivery centre we often received phone calls from customers complaining that their postie was riding across their lawn (on the council nature strip) and they'd like them to get off their motorbikes and walk to the letter boxes. Most posties were delivering to over 1,000 letterboxes, on their designated runs, so getting on and off their motorbikes was an unreasonable and impractical request!

However I would like you to know the majority are grateful for the service and as a postie in particular I would return from my daily delivery rounds at Christmas with gifts of gratitude which included chocolates, wine and many home made delights :D

That you Deb & Deb, that was really nice!

Do you know a postal worked who deserves to be featured on the blog? Send us a message and we'll send you a list of questions for you to use! :)


Posted by on 20 Nov, 2014
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Come Home at Once + Weekend Giveaway

Guy Atkins has been collecting postcards for years, especially from the Edwardian era. This was the golden period of postcards, which were then at the height of their popularity. With up to 6 daily mail deliveries (imagine that!), many people used them as we use Twitter or text messages these days — just to say "I'm thinking about you" or to convey some practical information ("I'll arrive on the 10am train").

It's not so much the pictures on the postcards that capture Guy's curiosity — instead he prefers the fascinating messages they hold. It all started when he was browsing an antiques market in London, where he found a perfectly boring postcard, sent on 21 December 1904 to Miss Emerson... which hid a very intriguing message. It said:

"Come home at once, all is forgiven. We have not had any news from father. There is heaps of m - - - y waiting for you to spend. Surely after that you could not stay away."

One cannot help but wonder... what happened? What did Miss Emerson do that needed forgiving? And did she stay away or go back home?

I guess we'll never know. And yet, the thrill of that mysterious message stays with us, and it stayed with Guy as well, who decided to collect other such intriguing postcards from that time. He has just launched a book with 100 of his best cards, appropriately titled Come Home at Once. Come Home at Once

We've had this book for a week or so, and I have to say, it is delightful. Perfectly sized, filled with mysterious messages that just draw you in and make you wonder. Some are funny, others shocking, some just confounding. Many don't seem to say much at all... until you note the strategically positioning of the stamp, hiding a whole other layer of meaning. Some... well, we're still trying to figure them out!

Come Home at Once

In order to promote his new book, Guy and his publisher have generously offered to give away 10 copies of the book to 10 lucky postcrossers! It's like an early Christmas treat! :)

For a chance to win one, all you have to do is leave a comment below. And if you have any tips on how one could make the message on a postcard more intriguing, do share!

Good luck everyone! Check back on this post around this time next week for the winners (randomly picked by Paulo's number generator, as usual).

And the lucky postcrossers, as chosen by Paulo's random number generator are... ludovico, Marie_S, foxfires, Shelleh, Kami-chan, librarymail, Huari, EngelDD, BLehner and vilnius. Congratulations to the winners and thank you everyone for the comments! What an outpour! :)


Posted by on 15 Nov, 2014
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The Little Mail Carriers in Belém, Brazil!

Hello everybody, olá! You'll never believe where we are!

Olá! Chegámos ao Brasil!

Oh, well... the title kind of gave that one away, didn't it? Anyway, that's right - we're in Brazil, the country that hosted the very exciting World Cup this summer! People here sure love football, but there's so much more to this country, and we were really eager to explore it all with our host Felipe (aka felipeduarte).

Felipe lives in the state of Pará, in the Amazon region. He showed us his postcard collection and we could see all Brazil in postcards and get an appetizer of what our time here would look like!

Felipe's lovely postcards

The capital of Pará is Belém, also known as “Metropolis of the Amazon”. It is a very interesting city, where over 1.500.000 people live. Being so close to the Equator, the city has a tropical rainforest climate, with temperatures averaging 25°C (77°F) year round!

Wow! Belém is huge!

We visited one of the most beautiful churches in Belém, the Basilica of Our Lady of Nazareth. The interiors, decorated with marble and gold, were just incredible!

The Basilica of Our Lady of Nazareth

Every October since 1793, a huge procession in celebration Mary takes place in Belém – it is named Círio de Nazaré and gathers more than two million people, the biggest catholic event in Brazil! Here are some photos that Felipe showed us:

Círio de Nazaré celebrations

Really impressive! After that, we went to the great República Square, where one of the most relevant landmarks in Belém is located: Paz Theatre. Voted as one of the wonders of Brazil, this large theatre was built in 1878, during the Amazon rubber boom. During those days (and up until 1912), Belém was called “Paris in America” due to its richnesses and prosperity.

Theatro da Paz

By lunch time, we headed over to Ver-o-peso (literally, “see-the-weight”) market, the most representative landmark in Pará. It is the biggest outdoors market in Latin America! You can see it on one of Felipe’s postcards:

Ver-o-Peso market

Fresh fish is sold on the Iron Market (the blue one, with towers) and there are also lots of tents, where you can find anything, from food to clothes, herbs and essences, regional or international. It’s a very culturally rich place!

Spices and essences at the market Native fruits at the market

Well... all this native fruit is making us hungry, it's time to try the Brazilian cuisine! The base of day-to-day food is rice and beans, and of course meat and chicken, with some regional variations. The people from Pará really appreciate a native fruit named açaí berry, which is now widely used by athletes as an energy drink. It is a purple seed that is drank as a dense liquid. And of course, we had to try a brigadeiro, a very typical chocolate bonbon. So, so good — and just the perfect size!

Yummy food!

After getting to know a little about the city, we decided to explore one of the nature parks in the area, the Mangal das Garças (Herons’ Mangal).

Mangal das Garças

It’s a really incredible place to see nature and observe several species of animals and plants. The red bird is named guará (or scarlet ibis) and the white ones are garças (herons). They roam around freely in the park.

Belém lighthouse

This tower is the Belém Lighthouse, which is 47 metres tall and has quite an unusual architecture for a lighthouse, don't you think? We went up to the observation platform... the view from up there is breathtaking!

Breathtaking views from the top of the lighthouse Don't we look nice in here?

It’s said that it rains everyday in there. And look at those dark clouds... it must be coming! Quick, let's step indoors and learn something about the region's culture and handicrafts.

Little P...? I think I'm stuck here!!

The indigenous marajoara pottery and natural rubber animal figures were quite intriguing. We also learnt that Belém was founded in 1616 and is now eagerly waiting to celebrate its fourth centenary! We visited the place where the city started: a citadel named Feliz Lusitânia.

Feliz Lusitânia

On top in left, an old canon in Forte do Castelo, a portuguese fortress. On the right side, the Metropolitan Cathedral.

Finally, we went to the Belém Central Post office to send a postcard home.

Belém Central Post Office

We saw there the machines used by the Post in the past: Morse code devices, scales and writing machines, but we loved the postboxes the best! Brazilian postboxes

On the left, the old Brazilian ones, used in the early 1900s and on the right, the current ones, that have a very unusual shape.

And that's it for this amazing trip! Off we go into our padded envelope again...

Bye-bye Brazil!

... but not without first heartily recommending this lovely country to everyone! Our experience in Brazil was fantastic, what an amazing country. And of course — a big thank you to our host Felipe for his hospitality! :)

See you soon everyone!


Posted by on 11 Nov, 2014
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Audrey's postcards!

Nothing melts our hearts like the happy combination of children and postcards. They might be young, but they can already appreciate the magic and awe behind these little pieces of paper!

When Audrey was born, her dad opened her an account on Postcrossing, so that she could receive postcards from all around the world. This was two years ago, and though she is still too young to read her postcards, she's been enjoying Postcrossing in other, simpler ways.

Alan Yung (Audrey's dad) shared these lovely photos with us:

Audrey picking up her postcards! Audrey picking up her postcards!

Doesn't she look sweet? Alan says Audrey is excited to pick up her postcards from their post box and can even recognize the origin of a few of the cards she receives by the stamps she's familiar with! Many nice people send her cards with all sorts of cute characters and animals, and often cover the back with stickers and drawings.

Audrey also helps with the sending part of the process sometimes, by helping her dad drop the postcards in mailboxes all around town, which she learned to recognize! :)

Audrey picking up her postcards!

Although Audrey doesn't always understand the messages, Alan says that sometimes during bed time, she'll ask for her pile of cards to go through the pictures again. Awwww.... I must confess, I quite like the idea that all these postcrossers are helping put Audrey to sleep every night! :)

What about you? Did you ever share your postcards with your children or grandchildren? Leave a comment below - we'd love to hear about it!


Posted by on 5 Nov, 2014
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