Christmas Island, Cape Breton, A Popular Postal Destination This Time Of Year

First Posted: 11/16/11 02:27 PM ET Updated: 11/16/11 07:20 PM ET

CHRISTMAS ISLAND, N.S. - An appropriately named post office in Cape Breton will be akin to Santa's workshop in the coming weeks.

Every holiday season, Canada Post's Christmas Island office receives thousands of cards and packages seeking to be stamped with its unique postmark.

"It's like a little smile in the mail. ... It's a little extra touch on the card to make it a little extra special," said Christmas Island postmistress Hughena MacKinnon.

Equipped with a wreath, ball ornaments and bow, the Christmas Island postmark is stamped in either red or green ink, depending upon the colour of your envelope or package.

"We receive mail from all over Canada, from the States, we have lots from Europe, and some from Asia," said MacKinnon, who has worked in the tiny rural office for 13 years. "You never know what you're going to see in the run of a day here."

MacKinnon said she encounters many familiar return addresses each year, reaching from nearby Sydney to Tahiti. She said some stamp collectors even stop by during the summer.

Immersed in thousands of envelopes and boxes, MacKinnon usually spends her days alone in the office, but she doesn't mind.

"When people come in, they always seem to be in a good mood. It makes your job a little lighter when everybody enjoys what you do and thanks you for what you are doing."

And although she admits her hands get a little tired after personally stamping up to 2,200 parcels per day, her hard work does not go unnoticed.

"Most of the people that mail something in, they always have a little note thanking us for our work," said MacKinnon, who sometimes has another woman come in to help.

The tradition dates back 16 years when MacKinnon's predecessor, Margaret Rose MacNeil, asked Canada Post to create a postmark for the aptly named region.

Last year, the post office stamped more than 15,000 letters and packages.

Canada Post recommends sending holiday cards to Christmas Island as early as possible to ensure they reach their destinations on time.

— By Aly Thomson in Halifax

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