Join the Santa-Goes-Postal Movement

December 10, 2012
Get in the spirit of giving for people who are often not appreciated enough.

Santa Clause reading a Dear Santa letter

There are two parts to this post. The first is about $5 gift cards. The second is about much bigger gifts.

Part One

I generally don’t buy gift cards, agreeing with my husband that they force you to shop at a certain story or restaurant even though you could get a better bargain elsewhere with the money spent on the card. Also, sometimes there is a time limit so that when you go to redeem them they have lost their value.

But today I’m going to suggest you buy some in order to become Santa’s helpers.

This idea came from Staci Armao, an aspiring actress and executive director of Hollywood Police Activities League, among other things. I was told about this by Patty Paul, who has contributed a number of ideas for my websites over the years. It seemed appropriate for my holiday posts.

Want to do something fun and easy this holiday season that will make someone’s day brighter and will have a ripple effect? Join the movement SANTA GOES POSTAL. Post offices can’t employ as many workers any more, so the stress level is high in December when crowds grow and lines slow. We all know that a crowded post office is not usually a happy place to be during the holiday season, with people complaining and grumbling.

Wouldn’t a neat holiday gesture be to wait in lines at various post offices and when you arrive at the window to simply give a small gift to the postal worker and say Merry Christmas? No buying of stamps or sending a package. Just a gesture of standing in a line simply to surprise someone and wish them happy holidays.

Last year I bought $5 Starbucks gift cards and stood in lines at different post offices on the busiest day of the holiday season (typically the Monday about a week before Christmas). The reaction of the workers was fantastic! One woman had just had a customer scream at her. Then I walked up and gave her a gift and she grasped my hand under the window and whispered “For me?? Thank you!”

This year, I propose that you buy two small gift cards from anywhere and give one to the postal worker to keep and ask them to pay it forward by surprising a stranger with the second card. You can also branch out and surprise any stranger yourself on any day in December if you don’t want to go to the post office. Post your stories on this wall. Let’s do this!

 Since I don’t drink coffee, the Starbucks card wouldn’t do me any good, but I plan to buy several for grocery stores since we all need to eat.

If you choose to be Santa’s helper with gift cards, let me know what happens.

Part Two

On Dec, 5, Huff Post Money offered the following news:

New York State Police are trying to find the woman who handed an on-duty trooper a holiday card with $1,000 cash inside.

Under New York law, members of the state police can’t accept such gifts.

So state police officials are seeking the public’s help in finding the woman who gave the money to Trooper Christopher Maniscalco in the Albany suburb of Guilderland on Sunday. They say they want the woman to tell them where she would like the donation to go.

Police say the woman told Maniscalco she had seen him doing a good job and wanted to say Merry Christmas and thank you. Officials say it wasn’t until after his shift ended that the trooper opened the card and saw the money.

 I heard about this on the radio after I had written the first part of this post and just couldn’t resist including it. Now I’m wondering if postal workers aren’t allowed to accept gifts. I would go ahead and give them a card anyway. But $1,000 may be a bit  too much to give to someone who can’ use it.

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