Communiqué from Santa’s secret location (at a post office near you)
David Zalubowski / AP

I reach down for the pair of dusty black boots. I haven’t worn them in close to a year, but I smile as I see the faux fur trimming and the nicks and knocks in the leather from three decades of use. At one time they were my first pair of motorcycle boots. They serve a different purpose now. They are Santa’s boots.

For what I am telling you now, you are sworn to secrecy. I am one of Santa’s helpers. I have a crimson suit that goes along with these boots, and to help the old guy out I pretend to be him two or three times every holiday season. Again, it is said that three can keep a secret if two are dead. Or more gently, loose lips sink ships. This is our little secret. Keep the cat in the bag. Don’t make me come looking for you: Remember, I know if you’ve been naughty or nice!

I have a Christmas card hanging at my workstation at the Royal Oak Post Office that reads:

Santa delivers everything in his bag in one night to every home in the United States. Big Deal. Letter Carriers do that every day of the year and they can’t even fly!

To be honest, the United States Postal Service only delivers to every address in the United States six days a week, and sometimes only five when there is a holiday. But we do deliver parcels to many addresses on those off days (Sundays and holidays). Just as Santa works his magic on that one momentous night, the USPS works its magic 365 days and nights a year. Here are some truly magical statistics from USPS Fiscal Year 2017:

– The USPS delivers daily to a network of 157.2 million delivery points nationwide

– 1.1 million new delivery points were added to the network in 2017

– 69.6 billion dollars was the USPS operating revenue in 2017

– 149 billion pieces of mail were processed by USPS in 2017

– 47 percent of the WORLD’S mail volume is handled by the USPS

– The USPS had 508,908 career employees and 130,881 non-career in 2017

– The USPS pays 1.9 billion dollars every two weeks in salaries and benefits

– The USPS has 227,896 vehicles—one of the largest civilian fleets in the world

– The USPS processed almost 6 million passport applications in 2017

– If it were a private sector company, USPS would be ranked 39th in the Fortune 500

– In the Global Fortune 500 list, the USPS ranked 107th


The United States Postal Service has the most affordable and reliable mail service in the world. It also pays its employees a fair wage and benefits package along with powerful union representation from its four postal unions. A child asked me once (actually my son, when he was 33 years old),“But how can that be, Santa? The Postal Service offers its services at the most affordable rate, yet the Postal Service pays its workers a decent wage. That doesn’t sound sustainable (a big word from a big boy!).”

I explained to my son, in my Santa voice, that just like ol’ Saint Nicholas the USPS doesn’t have to show a profit. We have no profit motive in our service to the people of this country. We just have to break even every year. There are no CEOs or shareholders demanding a piece of the pie. We are a service, not a company. It says so right in our name, and I think that is magical and wondrous and just as amazing as the story of Santa himself. It may be the reason why he wears the red suit.

A merry HO HO HO from Santa John “Cementhead” Dick! May you and yours have a glorious Holiday Season.


John Dick
John Dick

Award winning writer John "Cementhead" Dick is a retired letter carrier and proud member of the National Association of Letter Carriers, Branch 3126, Royal Oak, Mich.