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Christmas City, USA

Post Offices home to popular postmarks

Patty Coggin, a retail associate at the Noel, MO, Post Office, applies a holiday postmark to a stack of mail.

There’s “Noel” place like the small Missouri town that draws people from all over the world to send greeting cards from its spirited Post Office.

Since 1932, visitors have come to get the holiday pictorial postmark that says, “Christmas Greetings from Noel, MO. ‘The Christmas City’ in the Ozark Vacation Land.”

So far this year, almost 30,000 people have visited the office, where employees serve up homemade cookies, hot chocolate and coffee daily.

“Working here feels like Christmas,” said Patty Coggin, a Noel retail associate. “I love the tradition of seeing folks come back year after year. It just shows how special this is to them.”

As part of that tradition, the Noel Post Office uses volunteers to stamp the postmark on cards and letters.

“A lot of families come in to stamp. The tradition gets passed down and it’s definitely a generational thing,” Coggin said. “I also see lots of return customers with stories of coming to this same Post Office to send their cards since they were children.”

Noel joins other locations with festive names that are featured in this year’s USPS “Holiday Ready” TV commercial.

The Hadley, MA, Post Office also has a sought-after holiday pictorial postmark.

It was designed by Walter “Doug” George of Amherst, MA, and features Santa Claus flying over the Hadley Post Office in his sleigh, pulled by reindeer.

“Last year, we received requests for the postmark from across the country,” said Carol Caines, former Hadley postmaster. “We are excited to continue this holiday tradition.”