Town residents save Rudolph, Ohio’s famous ‘Red-Nosed’ postmark

Every year, thousands of letters arrive in Rudolph, a village in northwest Ohio, so they can be stamped with the post office's famous Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer postmark.

This year, however, the tradition almost died.

With post office staff cuts leaving just one employee to handle the massive holiday mail influx, the job appeared to be too much to handle.

"I struggled with it for a little bit, but then I just realized no matter what I wanted, it couldn't be done by me alone," Charlotte Lamb, in charge of the little post office, told the Associated Press.

The post office doesn't see much traffic during the rest of the year. Facing financial losses, the office recently reduced its staff from two to one.

When local residents and politicians learned of the postmark crisis, they petitioned the U.S. Postal Service to allow volunteers to stamp the Reindeer Station postmark on the 80,000 letters arriving from all over the country.

"That is our trademark," said Rod Lucas, the township's fiscal officer. "People send packages from all over the country."

The reindeer stamp, altered each year so that the design is unique, generates up to $10,000 a year in revenue for the post office. Without the stamp, the struggling office might have to close.

The U.S. Postal Service agreed to allow volunteers to continue the village's holiday tradition.

Almost 75 residents signed up to work daily shifts at the post office this month.

"It's a tradition," William Okuly, 66, told Toledo Blade of his decision to volunteer. "I've lived here 30 some years, and I figured I could help them out."

"So Rudolph was saved," state Representative Randy Gardner told the Associated Press.

"Everything that comes in between Dec. 1 and 24 will get the reindeer cancellation," Lamb told Toledo Blade.

The Associated Press shared how letter-writers can get a Rudolph stamp added to their holiday mail:

"To get Rudolph's postmark on your Christmas cards, send them already stamped, in a large envelope or box to: Postmaster, Rudolph, Ohio 43462."