Christmas cards get holy touch with Bethlehem postmark

BETHLEHEM, N.H. (AP) — A tiny post office in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, is being overrun this holiday season by people who want to postmark their Christmas cards with the town’s name.

Most of the year, letters dropped off there are sent to a regional facility in Vermont where an automated machine cancels the stamps with postal markings.

But every December, Bethlehem postmaster Brian Thompson dusts off a 60-year-old machine and feeds stacks of cards by hand to cancel each stamp with the word “Bethlehem.”

About 58,000 letters have been sent this season.

There are about 90 U.S. towns with holiday- or winter-themed names, including six others named Bethlehem. Others include Santa Claus, Indiana, and Snowflake, Arizona.

According to the Bible, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in what is now the West Bank.