Sending Christmas cheer one card at a time

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Volunteer Mary McCaine stamps mail at Noel’s post office. Her favorite part of the process is “meeting a lot of different people that come in the door.”

 NOEL – It may be tiny and tucked away in the Ozarks hills, but the village of Noel is no secret. After all, even before the advent of social media, Noel put itself on the map with a viral campaign of international proportions.

The plan was created in 1932 by E.T. Rousselot, a former Noel postmaster who doubled as an effective marketer. He suggested that during the holiday season, mail be specially stamped to wish recipients a merry Christmas from Noel. It was a next-to-no-cost initiative, one that could simultaneously bring cheer — and notoriety to the community — in the depths of the Great Depression.

The simple idea had simply spectacular results: Now more than 80 years later, hundreds of thousands of pieces of mail have been marked with the stamps — and volunteers are already hard at work on this year’s deliveries. (more…)