Santa’s work begins answering Christmas wish mail in Germany

HIMMELPFORT, Germany (AP) — Santa Claus and his helpers have begun answering Christmas letters from children around the world sent to a special post office in the German town of Himmelpfort.

Germany’s Deutsche Post says it’s already received nearly 12,000 letters to the special office that it opens annually. The longest journey made by a letter so far is from South Africa.

All letters received between now and the third Sunday of Advent, Dec. 16, will be personally answered by Santa or one of 20 helpers, who started their work Wednesday, and returned before Christmas.

So far requests include traditional wishes like games and books, and more modern items like smartphones and tablet computers.

Letters are to be addressed to: An den Weihnachtsmann, Weihnachtspostfiliale, 16798, Himmelpfort, Germany. A return address is also necessary.

Last year the office received 264,000 letters.