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Christmas Carolers Banished from Post Office

USPS 2011 Christmas Stamp - Raphael

Just in case you were considering the local post office as one of the stops on your caroling route this year, think again.  It would be a violation of USPS rules.

A group of carolers dressed as characters from the classic tale A Christmas Carol popped into a post office in Silver Springs (Montgomery county) Maryland recently and were told to leave by a manager. And there was no indication they were singing off-key. It’s just that the USPS does not permit public assembly inside any of its branches. In the words of USPS spokesperson, Laura Dvorak:




[T]he carolers . . . were in violation of the Postal Service’s rules on public assembly and public address. Inside the post office, however, the expectation is that public assembly will be either conducted or sponsored by the Postal Service.

This has caused quite a bit of stir on the Internet in the past few days. Some groups say this is all part of a larger scheme to de-emphasize Christmas and eliminate “anything remotely connected to anything religious” during the holidays (a.k.a., the “war on Christmas”) despite all the Christmasy — even religious-themed — stamps available this time of year.


  1. J. Alec West
    December 16, 2011 at 3:50 am

    I’m not a Christian. But I’m a believer in the axiom, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Christmas has been a National and Federal Holiday since before I was born (over 61 years ago). And ever since then, with a few exceptions, most people receive Christmas Day off with “holiday” pay. Any employer, public or private, who kicks Christmas carolers off their property and, at the same time, pays employees Christmas holiday pay is nothing but a hypocrite. I’ll just bet that Maryland postal manager gets Christmas Day off with pay … which makes him a hypocrite, too. In fact, ANYONE who agrees with the caroler eviction off Postal property but also accepts Christmas holiday pay in their paycheck is a hyprocrite as well.

    This whole thing reminds me of the brief scene near the beginning of 1951′s “Scrooge” starring Alistair Sim. Scrooge confronts carolers close to his place of business and yells “Be off with you!” at them. And while this situation is terrible, it gave me a great idea on how to respond to it – and this comes from a non-Christian person who just retired from a 30 year career with the Postal Service.

    Since the Postal Service wants nothing to do with Christmas, people should oblige them – sending as many Christmas cards as possible via E-mail – and sending all packages via FedEx, UPS, OnTrac, or other alternate services. And since they’ll likely continue this anti-caroler edict, it might be time to start another tradition. Think of it – a non-Postal Christmas where the Postal Service gets NO holiday business. Fair is fair, right?

  2. December 16, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Very interesting perspective. Thank you for your comment.

    • J. Alec West
      December 16, 2011 at 12:40 pm

      Thanks for the thanks (grin). FWIW, in another forum, a postal worker disagreed with me. He does not work at the post office in question, however. He believes they were soliciting donations which is definitely against the law on postal property. However, I believe that the postal manager just used the “soliciting” ruse as an excuse to kick them out. And I believe that because the carolers were in-costume (eg., probably professionals hired by the mall to entertain for a booking fee), they were not soliciting.

      To set the matter to rest once and for all, I contacted Chuck Wallach at the Aspen Hill Shopping Center and asked him if they were professionals hired by the mall or freelancers soliciting donations. He replied almost immediately but didn’t know the answer but forwarded my question to someone who does. I’ll post that answer here if and when I do get a response.

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