Santa's new address: No. 1 Santa Claus Lane, North Pole

Col. Lynn Scheel joins North Pole Community leaders for formal ceremony designating a permanent candy cane marker as Santa's new address Dec. 3, 2010, North Pole, Alaska.  By keeping this program alive, North Pole can continue to recognize the efforts  of its originators at Eielson Air Force base.  Colonel Scheel is the 354th Fighter Wing Vice Wing Commander.  (U.S. Air Force photo by/Airman 1st Class Yash Rojas)

Col. Lynn Scheel joins North Pole Community leaders for formal ceremony designating a permanent candy cane marker as Santa's new address Dec. 3, 2010, North Pole, Alaska. By keeping this program alive, North Pole can continue to recognize the efforts of its originators at Eielson Air Force base. Colonel Scheel is the 354th Fighter Wing Vice Wing Commander. (U.S. Air Force photo by/Airman 1st Class Yash Rojas)

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska (AFPN) -- The city of North Pole, Alaska, with the assistance of the North Pole Economic Development Corporation, has erected a permanent candy cane marker designating "No. 1 Santa Claus Lane" as the address to which letters to Santa should be addressed.

The recent installation of the candy cane marker, along with policy changes, have ended those privacy issues that threatened to cancel the "Letters to Santa" program earlier this year.

"Now 'Santa Claus' or 'Santa's Mail Bag' has a specific location, and it's assured that once a child sends a letter to 1 Santa Claus Lane, we are going to get it," said Gabby Gaborik, a Letters to Santa volunteer.

Letters to Santa, a program created nearly 60 years ago by members of the 58th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron here, provides children from 1 to 92 a way to write to jolly old Saint Nicholas.

The program has a military side and a civilian side, both created in an effort to spread Christmas cheer. At Eielson Air Force Base, the program's initial focus was to keep the spirit of Christmas alive for the families of Airmen who were away from home.

You had a group of people who realized they could still carry on the Christmas traditions, particularly for their children, while men and women who were in the Armed Forces were away, Mr. Gaborik said.

Prior to the creation of Letters to Santa, it was difficult for servicemembers to connect with families while away during Christmas holiday. Santa's Mailbag made it easier for them to celebrate with their loved-ones back home, he said.

"It was simple at that time," Mr. Gaborik said. "As a servicemember, all you had to do was drop the letter at any military installation post office box and it would automatically come to Santa Claus."

Since the program's creation, Letters to Santa volunteers like Mr. Gaborik have received a considerable amount of attention for their time and effort to respond to the numerous letters to Santa from around the world.

By keeping this program alive, North Pole volunteers can continue to recognize the efforts of its originators at Eielson AFB.

Of course, the program has grown considerably. Civilians and servicemembers now work together in an effort to keep alive the hopes of millions of children around the world by replying to letters to Santa.

"The program shows people that there is still some good in the world," said North Pole Mayor Doug Isaacson.