HAINES — Stacy Dinger is creating a winter wonderland one piece of junk mail at a time.
Dinger is the postal clerk at the Haines Post Office. She decorates the space for every holiday season, and this year she wanted to try something different for the holidays.
“I try to decorate the office for every holiday as much as I possibly can,” she said.
Her theme is “Recycling in a Winter Wonderland.”
“Everything I have is recycled from the community,” she said.
To start, she asked her postal customers to donate any junk mail or catalogs they didn’t want to take home.
She then set about turning those items into decorations. The junk mail flyers, for example, became paper maché snowballs spray painted white and sprinkled with glitter.
“They turned out ever so cute,” she said.
The catalogs became miniature trees — each page is folded three times — and also spray painted white.
Even simple paper wasn’t safe from her crafty hands. Dinger weaved the brown paper that comes in Amazon boxes into an arbor that will be front and center in the window.
The paper is also painted white, as are a variety of pine cones.
She would gratefully accept, she said with a smile, any donations of white spray paint. She’d also like to hear other ideas for making recycled crafts.
“These are simple ideas that parents can do with their kids,” she said.
The winter scene will be completed with styrofoam peanuts strung on fishing line to imitate snowflakes, as well as a tree and a box where children can mail letters to Santa.
The post office will go into full holiday decoration on the Monday after Thanksgiving. It is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. It is closed for an hour for lunch.
As for the holiday rush to mail gifts, Dinger encourages people to visit the Haines office because there is generally not a line.
“During my Christmas rush I get maybe 10 people a day,” she said.
Once the holidays are over, Dinger said all the decorations will be sent to the postal recycling center to be made into the USPS ReadyPost envelopes and mailing boxes.
“It becomes postal supplies,” she said.