Tag Archives: santa’s mailbox

BRIGHTER, BUT BIZARRE, HOLIDAY HIGHLIGHTS: Advent in Longyearbyen starts w/ letters, lights, lyrics – and looney laws

An idyllic snowy, yet mild and mostly windless, first Sunday of Advent in the world’s northernmost town was full of traditional celebrations to mark the start of the holiday season – but as with so much this year there were some peculiar and sometimes mystifying differences.

But, in what might be called a gift, not all were sickly and/due to The Curse That Shall Not Be Named (at least near the top of this festive feature).

SIMPLY ENLIGHTENING: A few white bulbs and lots of singing are plenty enough to bring a glow to Longyearbyen residents during the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony


A spartan strand of plain white lights illuminated a few boughs on what in the 24-hour dark of polar night might pass for a tall bit of shrubbery…and there was much rejoicing. A few moments later a second strand of lights brought a glow revealing the fuller outlines of an evergreen…and there was much rejoicing. Shortly after the third and final set of plain white lights let the townfolk of Longyearbyen know this was as turned on as this year’s official Christmas tree was going to get.

And there was much rejoicing.

“It’s so simple to find satisfaction here,” a woman remarked to a companion, both of whom were wearing reflective vests for the new Svalbard Folk High School that welcomed its first students a few months ago.

Random weirdness for the week of Jan 16, 2018


OK, we definitely don’t want the competition given our status as Svalbard’s resident street beggars, but since we’re journalists first and foremost we feel obliged to point out the riches this utterly boring and obsolete photo is worth to folks outside Svalbard who don’t know any better. Yup, it’s a drab and dull photo of that giant Santa’s mailbox that no longer exist (except in pieces in a storage container where it once stood), but digital copies are selling for 4,000 each at Getty Images, a publications, magazines and other media/PR venues. Check out the related images beneath and it’s clear anyone with a smartphone can take premium-priced images if they’re accepted as a contributor. Yup, we’ve sent in our stuff, so if nothing else we’ve got a brief headstart on folks who actually know how to use a camera…

Doomsday scenarios: Impending collision with Planet X, ‘flooded’ seed vault, toilet paper famine among Svalbard’s 10 strangest stories of 2017


“There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.

There is another theory which states that this has already happened.”

― Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe


We feel safe saying after 2017 we’re now living in an alternate universe.

Random weirdness for the week of Dec. 19, 2017


With Christmas nearly here it surely must be a merry feeling to many there isn’t a huge ugly red box outside Po Lee Lin’s Santa-themed workshop any longer. OK, at least not that big red box. Instead, the pieces of what used to be her 9.4-meter-high Santa’s mailbox outside the workshop are now being stored in a large red container a short distance from where the box stood before being removed in late November.

Going postal: After getting screwed on the last day of Santa’s giant mailbox, owner stages a farewell gathering and break-in


Update 5:30 p.m. Sunday: Workers hired by Po Lee Lin began disassembling the mailbox Sunday afternoon, although it will largely be intact and visible one final night since the work was limited to putting up scaffolding and removing a few preliminary screws. Jan Olov Dahl, supervisor of the project, said the work should take about three days. Details added to story below.

Original story: For a final night the nearly 10-meter-high Santa’s mailbox was lit up so people could come and say goodbye before its owner started taking it down the next day. Except plans to let people take a final look inside it were thwarted when the city sealed the entrance door at the back with screws. So, after being on the losing end of many months of legal battles, Po Lin Lee staged one final act of defiance.

ALERT: Lights removed from giant Santa’s mailbox, which is scheduled to be taken down Nov. 20 after lengthy permit dispute


A nearly 10-meter-high Santa’s mailbox standing at Tynset since December of 2013, but which the city ordered removed a year ago due to lack of a proper permit, has its lights removed Monday and is scheduled to be taken down starting Nov. 20, according to its owner and a city attorney.

A huge piece of ship: Buyers on mainland reportedly want giant Santa’s mailbox, but the shipping costs are insane

Which is the harder challenge for Santa: traveling 1,050 kilometers per second to deliver all his gifts in one night or changing his mailbox address?

Let’s just say he’s done the first and his agents haven’t figured out how to do the second.

Holiday plans cancelled: Po Lin Lee loses planned hotel site in addition to giant Santa’s mailbox due to faulty paperwork


To use an analogy apt for Po Lin Lee: If you mail a wish list to Santa you might not get everything on it, but if you don’t mail it you definitely won’t get anything.

A failure to send proverbial wish lists is now costing the Hong Kong native more than her gigantic Santa’s mailbox that’s facing imminent removal, as she is now being denied previous approval to build a hotel at Elvesletta. Her company Svalbard International received a permit to build the hotel in 2014 that was valid until mid-December of 2015, but property owner Store Norske now plans to offer the site to another entity.

Return to sender: Giant Santa’s mailbox benefactor back in Longyearbyen, bewildered at rejection of gift to community


Santa’s Little Helper is back in town – and says she doesn’t understand why her gigantic gift to the community is causing such a huge fuss.