EAST LIVERPOOL - There was no need to send letters to the North Pole from the East Liverpool post office Thursday because Santa himself was there.
Santa. A gingerbread house. A choir singing carols. Christmas cookies. Pretty much everything necessary for a holiday celebration - and then some.
Adding to the post office's "Holiday Express" event was the involvement of East Liverpool High School career-technical students and the availability of a limited-edition East Liverpool Christmas postmark.
East Liverpool High School senior Miranda Timmins (right) sells a limited-edition postal cache to Diane Daily, of Corona, Calif., on Thursday. Daily was at the East Liverpool post office’s “Holiday Express” event with her father, Flave Daily, of Calcutta. (Photo by Stephen Huba)
"They made the lobby look magical and very festive," said Crystal Bennett, East Liverpool postmaster. "Customers are coming in with smiles on their faces and commenting on how beautiful it is."
Bennett said she has organized similar events in other cities where she has been postmaster, but, in this case, she reached out to the high school for help.
"Crystal called me, and it took off from there," said Annie Inge, commercial arts teacher at the ELHS career-technical school.
"The more I talked with Annie, the bigger and bigger it got," Bennett said.
Inge's students handled the lobby decorations, including the gingerbread house, and the students of landscaping teacher Josh Ludwig prepared the exterior.
Mayor James P. Swoger was effusive with his praise over the end result. "The only thing I know is: When help is needed, East Liverpool High School is there," he said.
Inge's commercial arts students created decorations for the windows and ceilings, including a set of posters based on the U.S. Postal Service's 2013 Christmas stamps. Ludwig's landscaping students cleaned the outside, trimmed the bushes and installed festive lighting.
Among the students attending Thursday's "Holiday Express" event was the ELHS Renaissance Choir, directed by Lisa Ensinger, and commercial arts student Miranda Timmins, who designed the Christmas postmark.
Special, numbered caches were sold for $2 apiece as a fundraiser for the Commercial Arts Club. Each cache consisted of a business-size envelope, Timmins' postmark, a Christmas stamp, the ELHS return address, Swoger's autograph and the mayor's seal.
Timmins' design features a gingerbread man, a gingerbread house, the words "ELHS Potters Gingerbread Station" and Thursday's date. The postmark, part of the U.S. Postal Service's pictorial postmark program, is good for 30 days, Bennett said.