Holiday postmark returns to Joy, Illinois

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It's happening one stamp at a time in Joy, Illinois.

"They're all Christmas cards," said Linda Frye, who is from Joy.

The joy is back this holiday season.

"Everybody's excited," said Karen Christofferson, also from Joy.  "Everybody loves it."

At the Post Office in Joy, Illinois, Frye brought a stack of cards on Monday, December 1, 2014.

"It makes it extra-special," she said.

Each will get a special holiday postmark.

"Everybody starts sending something," said postal clerk Patty Maynard.

Designed by students and residents since 1985, the unique postmark stamp attracts more than 12,000 cards and letters each year from all over the world.

"People would drive from all over to get their stuff postmarked with that," Christofferson said.

This year's batch already includes mail from China and Georgia.  It's quite something for this Illinois village of 400 residents.

"We get tons of mail to stamp every year," said Maynard.

But in 2013, budget cuts and shortened hours forced the postmark to be cancelled itself.

"I hated it when we didn't get it last year," Christofferson said.

After a season without the postmark, it just didn't seem the same. That's why the stamp is back this year, and hundreds of cards are arriving in time for mailing.

"They're happy to have it back," said Don Miller, Joy.

Postal workers will take turns hand stamping between serving post office customers.

They're spreading cheer from a place that says "Merry Christmas" each day in its name.

"It's just something amazing that we can do," Christofferson concluded.

This is a real stamp of approval for Joy, Illinois.

To receive the special postmark, mail cards to:

Joy Post Office, 202 West Main Street, Joy, Illinois, 61260.

Mail can also be dropped off at the post office on weekday mornings between 7-11 a.m.

Cards need to get there by December 20th to ensure delivery by Christmas.