Why This Village of 500 People Sends 50,000 Christmas Cards

This small Wisconsin village has a very busy post office each holiday season.

— -- One post office in central Wisconsin becomes particularly busy during the holiday season, because of a special postmark for people in the Christmas spirit.

People rush to Rudolph, Wisconsin, each year to send their holiday cards and packages through the local post office. The special red-ink Rudolph stamp has been a tradition that goes back more than 60 years. It reads, "Rudolph, Wisconsin, Home of Rudolph, The Red Nose Reindeer," with an image of the Christmas character. The post office also has a special postmark with not only the date, but Rudolph in a scarf and Santa hat.

Judy Schiferl of Hewitt, Wisconsin, about 20 miles northwest of Rudolph, said she has been getting her holiday cards stamped at the post office for ten years.

"Getting our cards stamped with our Rudolph -- it's just tradition," she told ABC affiliate for North Central Wisconsin WAOW with a laugh.

The village has a population of about 500 people. The post office, which employs one Postmaster, a clerk and two rural carriers, typically processes 1,000 cards and letters each day. This more than doubles during the holiday season to 2,500 to 3,000, and it will peak this Saturday with an extra 10,000 holiday letters that day as part of the Rudolph County Christmas Celebration. During the holiday season, that post office will probably handle 50,000 cards and letters, the U.S. Postal Service said.

The decorative stamp program was started by Postmaster Lillian Blonien in 1945 as a Girl Scout project. Other post offices that have holiday-themed events each year are Joy, Illinois; Nazareth, Michigan, and Bethlehem, Kentucky. In the past, these post offices have had decorative postmark cancellation stamps that can cancel a first-class stamp.