CAMDEN — It is an old and merry sound carrying down the streets of Camden in the twilight of a December evening.

The ringing puts one in mind of sleighs drawn by horses or reindeer traveling narrow snowy paths between tall dark pines. It is a jingle from another time and place, a note of enchantment in the winter air.

Followed to its source, one might be surprised to find a letter carrier with the U.S. Postal Service making his rounds.

Mark Castellano, 54, of Camden has delivered mail in this area for more than 20 years. For most of that time, he has carried sleigh bells on his messenger bag during the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Castellano is a familiar face around town, stopping to say “hello” in local businesses and to neighbors on his route. The last thing he was looking for was attention, but unfortunately for him, his route happened to take him past a certain newspaper office just as the editor was leaving for the day.

He said it started as a prank. Janine Meservey put the bells on his satchel one day around 2001, and he decided to go with it. It was a chance to spread cheer and connect with people in the area.

“It’s always joyous,” said Gary Fowlie, owner of Village Variety. “It brings a smile to people. He loves his job.”

Castellano said people in town really seem to appreciate their letter carriers and they always help pick up his spirits. He hopes he brings them a little holiday spirit in return.

“I’m really grateful for everyone here,” he said.