Marco Polo’s 24 Holiday traditions from around the world – Day 10: France, Letters from Père Noël

It’s Day 10 of our Advent Calendar and today we are headed to France to find out why children around the world are sending their letters to the French Father Christmas. Did you miss yesterday’s post? Check it out here!

FRANCE: LETTERS FROM FATHER CHRISTMAS

All around the world people are sending out their Christmas cards, while young children will certainly already have mailed their letters to Father Christmas so that the good old man knows exactly what he should bring for Christmas. But did you know that it was the French who started with the tradition of Father Christmas – or Père Noël as the French call him –  replying to each letter he receives?

Until the 1950s, the fate that awaited most letters sent to Father Christmas, was being destroyed. In France it was against the rules to open the letters but in the beginning of the 1950s, a French postal worker decided to ignore the rules. She opened the letters and started replying to each of them. By 1962, her idea had become so mainstream that the French Ministère des Postes en des Télégraphes set up an official post office dedicated to answering letters on Father Christmas’ behalf.  Nowadays the office receives over a million letters each year, from all over the world.

Do you want to send a letter – or an email – to Père Noël? You can, until December 18, and the good old man will let his helpful French volunteers and postal workers pen in a response, for you. You can visit the French Post’s official website for more information (in French).

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