CHILDREN in Slovakia traditionally receive Christmas presents brought by Baby Jesus (Ježiško) rather than by Santa Claus, so many youngsters address their pre-Christmas letters to Ježiško. Slovak Post (Slovenská Pošta) makes it possible for children to address their handwritten letters to ‘999 99 Ježiško’ and children who provide a return address and stamp even receive a personal response.
2011 was the 13th year of the Christmas Post (Vianočná Pošta) project, and more than a million letters and cards have been delivered to Ježiško since its inception. Even children who write from abroad – and there have been hundreds of them each year – receive a response; visually-impaired children receive answers in Braille.
Correspondence for Ježiško is delivered to the post office in Rajecká Lesná, close to Slovakia’s famous wooden nativity scene, which has its own specially-designed postbox mounted on the back of an angel. The first letter to Ježiško in 2011 arrived in September, Slovenská Pošta spokesperson Andrea Pivarčiová told the SITA newswire.
In addition to normal postal deliveries, a special van delivers some of the Christmas mail. On the day when the special postbox was opened this year a special rubber stamp with the motif of a postman’s bugle was used to validate the mail. Slovenská Pošta also offered theatre performances for children at post offices in Banská Bystrica, Trnava, Bratislava, Liptovský Mikuláš and Košice, SITA reported.
“Slovenská Pošta is Ježiško’s helper in answering all post meant for him. We believe that children will have all their wishes come true under the Christmas tree,” said Marcela Hrdá, the general manager of Slovenská Pošta, as quoted by the TASR newswire, adding that each year more and more children send their wishes in this way.
She noted that more than 50,000 letters were received by December 22, including postcards and letters from the Czech Republic, Germany, and Hungary and some from as far away as Italy, Japan, Canada, India, Russia and the United States.