Sending Your Holiday Mail By Way Of Rudolph, Wis.
Those seeking holiday joy could look for it in places with seasonal names like Christmas, Fla., Santa Claus, Ind., or Snowflake, Ariz. — but you don't have to leave home to enjoy Rudolph, Wis.
For most of the year, the tiny town of Rudolph — population just a few snowflakes north of 400 — is best known for the cheese factory off Main Street. But around Christmas, people around the world covet a Rudolph, Wis., postmark on their cards and letters.
"The stamp actually says 'Rudolph, Wisconsin, Home of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,' " says Becky Trzebiatowski, the town's postmaster. It's her job to rubber-stamp each piece of mail with an illustration of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
"People send their Christmas cards in an envelope with a note that says, 'Can you please postmark this and send it out?' " she says.
The tradition started in 1945 and really took off after the animated television special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer aired in 1964. And things really got crazy this year because it's the 50th anniversary of that special.
"Normally this little post office would send out maybe two trays of mail, you know, about maybe 1,000 pieces. This year we sent out 36 trays of mail," Trzebiatowski says.
Rudolph, Wis., was not named after the reindeer, by the way. The name honors Rudolph Hecox, the first child born in the town, in the 1850s — but that hasn't stopped Rudolph from going head-over-antlers for its red-nosed namesake.
"We incorporate some fireworks and a lighted parade, and Christmas here in Rudolph is really a very delightful little town to be in," Trzebiatowski says.
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