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STAR, N.C. — December is the busiest time of the year for the United States Postal Service, but it’s even busier than usual for places with holiday themed names, many of which offer unique stamps for holiday cards.
What You Need To Know
The post office in Star has been offering a unique holiday cancellation since 1987
More than 20,000 cards are usually stamped at the small post office every December
A contest is held each year where artists can submit designs for a new stamp
Postmaster Angela Johnson says tens of thousands of letters come through the post office in Star, North Carolina every year because they offer a unique cancellation.
“It varies by year but anywhere from 20,000 to 24,000. So it’s a lot. This year, as of yesterday, we have already done over 8,000. So this year is a little ahead of schedule, so we may even make our best year ever this year,” Johnson said. “I think they told me they did maybe 400 or 500 the first year so you can see the numbers have really grown since then.”
So many letters go through the Star post office in December that they measure the amount of holiday cards by the foot.
“Monday was 9 foot. Yesterday was 8 foot. I think we are on par to get 6 or 8 additional feet today,” Johnson said.
Since 1987, the post office in Star has offered a unique holiday cancellation every December, and it’s attracted people from all over the country.
“It just adds a little bit of extra festivity during the season. It goes out on each and every card,” Johnson said.
This is Johnson’s 15th year stamping letters.
“It tells me how out of shape I am every year because after about a week I can start to feel it right through here where I don’t normally use those muscles so much,” Johnson said.
Every single stamp is applied by hand, as evidence by the circular mark left behind on her palm.
“That stays with me pretty much the month of December. Like I said it’s just from the pressure that we put on the rubber stamp handle when we are trying to get that good imprint,” Johnson said. “But you see, when you get that good imprint, it’s well worth it. It looks good.
She has the method of stamping down to a science.
“We have this one ink pad. We just go through bottles and bottles of refill ink that we use. We like this one. The size works good. We’ve tried different ones. You want to make sure it’s inked really well, and this one does well,” Johnson said.
It’s a pretty time-consuming job, and the hours spent stamping every day add up.
“On and off for four or five hours because they just keep coming in,” Johnson said.
But she says it’s worth all the time and energy because of the stories she hears.
“A lady came in sometime between Christmas and New Year’s, and she said that her and her husband had always wanted to get down here and get their Christmas card stamped and sent off with a special design,” Johnson said. “Then she told me that he had passed away, so she wanted to fulfill that for both of them, and she was sending those cards out. Just touching moments like that. People who enjoy coming to get it.”
The post office in Star offers the unique stamp through December 31. As for next year’s stamp, artists have until September 2022 to submit their designs. To learn more about the design contest, visit Star’s website.
According to the USPS website, other towns in North Carolina with holiday-themed names include Evergreen, Faith and Garland. However, Star’s stamp is considered special, because it’s a different design every year.