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Christmas mail surprise: Young people send letters to strangers

2023-12-04T08:48:21.967Z

Highlights: Christmas mail surprise: Young people send letters to strangers. Anyone can write Christmas greetings to a stranger, send it to the Bischofswiesen parish office and get similarly nice mail back on Christmas Eve. Altar servers open and read the letters sent in and send them to a "suitable partner" If you want to receive surprise mail, you first have to take action yourself: Write a Christmas card to an unknown person and put it in an envelope together with an 85 cent stamp and an extra note.



Status: 04.12.2023, 09:29 a.m.

By: Cornelia Schramm

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Advent post office: Franz Pfnür, Franz Punz and Anna Schlag (from left) sift through the first letters that have already been received. They send each of these Christmas greetings to another participant in the campaign. © Private

Franz Punz sets up a special kind of post office for the Advent season: Anyone who sends a Christmas card there will receive a nice greeting in return. However, Punz does not respond himself – his team forwards each letter to one of the other senders. It's an action against loneliness – and everyone can take part.

Bischofswiesen – Franz Punz has already fulfilled his duty: the 25-year-old has carefully selected a Bavarian poem, written it in a beautiful card and left a very personal Christmas greeting. He doesn't know the recipient. And yet, just in time for Christmas Eve, his letter will be under the Christmas tree of a person he doesn't know.

This year, in its fourth year, a team of ten hard-working elves is making sure of that. Franz Punz himself is one of them. He coordinates the post office of a special kind, which has to work at full speed again from this first Advent weekend. Last year, the young people from Bischofswiesen in the Berchtesgadener Land sent a good 200 Christmas cards to the whole of the Free State. And this year there will be even more.

In the Bischofswiesen parish office, Franz Punz's team sorts Christmas mail surprises. © Private

The principle of their "Christmas Post Surprise" campaign is reminiscent of Secret Santa. Anyone can write Christmas greetings to a stranger, send it to the Bischofswiesen parish office and get similarly nice mail back on Christmas Eve. From there, however, the altar servers do not send letters and cards indiscriminately. They open it, read it and marvel at it, and convey a suitable counterpart to each greeting, a suitable partner to each author.

"Senders who have written a very long letter get one in which there is a lot to read in return," explains Punz. "Very beautifully designed cards, are forwarded to recipients who have also artistically designed their greeting."

This is how you too will receive the surprise mail

If you want to receive surprise mail on Christmas Eve, you first have to take action yourself: Write a Christmas card to an unknown person and put it in an envelope together with an 85 cent stamp and an extra note.

On the separate piece of paper, write down your own address so that you too can receive a surprise mail for Christmas. Please send the envelope to the following address by 14 December at the latest:

Parish office Bischofswiesen, Göllstraße 1 in 83483 Bischofswiesen

The keyword "Christmas Mail Surprise" should also be noted on the stamped envelope. Everything else is taken care of by the hard-working elves in the parish office. They make sure that your surprise mail reaches you on time. On the Instagram account @weihnachtspost.bischofswiesen, the altar servers also provided information about their campaign. (sco)

Christmas 2024: Altar servers offer special letter campaign for the fourth time

In the mailroom: The young people open and read the letters sent in and send them to a "suitable partner". © Private

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In fact, in the boxes of the elves you will find opulent, self-made or very special purchased Christmas cards. Some are spruced up with paper cuttings or stickers, others with self-painted Christmas motifs – snowmen and Santa Clauses beckon. One letter is even adorned with a pressed, gilded beech leaf. Last year, a letter was accompanied by an origami work of art – a small angel made of folded paper. Franz Punz's heart soars: "Personally, I attach great importance to the design of my card."

Every card and every letter that arrives looks different. © Private

Other senders really get caught up in the content. "One of them once wrote his own interpretation of the Christmas story," says Punz. "In addition, many participants write their own poems or profound texts about Christmas and peace in the world." Some also talk about how they experienced Christmas as a child.

Christmas mail surprise: A letter has been forwarded all the way to Poland

The campaign achieves what it is supposed to do: it encourages the Bavarians to write letters again – to take time for others. "Of course, many older people are taking part, whose generation learned and lived letter writing properly," says Punz. "It's a valuable experience for the younger ones."

So the elves are on a higher mission. Her idea was born in the middle of the pandemic. They not only wanted to do something against loneliness, but also to make a difference pedagogically. "We advertise in schools," says Punz. "We shouldn't forget how to write letters."

The team of the Christmas post surprise in their post office in Bischofswiesen. © Private

Surprises have already been sent as far away as the North Sea and Poland. The team is very happy about any feedback. "A lady once told me how touched she was on Christmas Eve," says Punz. "Because she suddenly realized that two complete strangers can say such beautiful things and good wishes to each other."

Only one drop of bitterness remains: pen pals cannot develop. "Unfortunately, we have to pay attention to data protection," says Punz. "The cards and letters may contain the sender's name, but not an address." This remains the secret of the elves – but that doesn't make the surprise post under the Christmas tree any less beautiful. (sco)

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2023-12-04

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