USPS to help Santa make list, check it twice to pony (express) gifts for needy

Operation Santa

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKBT) — The U.S. Postal Service is giving Santa a helping hand to make his list and check it twice, accepting letters for its annual Operation Santa program.

The 109-year-old program also counts on postal patrons to pony up as elves to help needy families.

Holiday expectations put extra pressure on families that have trouble making ends meet, but Operation Santa aims to help them realize some dreams. The program has helped hundreds of thousands of less-fortunate children and their families benefit through the generosity of others.

Regardless of whether you believe in Santa, the nondenominational program is intended to help as many deserving families as possible experience a happy Christmas season. That can happen only if there are letters to post at

To participate, one need only write a letter, put it in an envelope affixed with a First-Class Mail Forever stamp and make sure to include your full return address — apartment number; directional information such as E. Main Street, Apt., and ZIP Code — and send it to Santa’s official workshop address: Santa Claus, 123 Elf Road, North Pole, 88888

Letters without full return addresses or names will not be posted for adoption.

Letter writers can feel free for their asks, but the more specific, the better. Listing sizes, colors, styles, favorite authors, book titles, toys, etc., improves chances for wishes to be granted.

When someone writes a letter, Santa’s elves open them and, for safety reasons, remove all personally identifiable information, such as last name, address and ZIP code upload it to for adoption. Letters must be postmarked by Dec. 10, and missives will be uploaded to the website for adoption through Dec. 15.

There is no guarantee that letters submitted to the program will be adopted.

The Postal Service has guides and tips at and in the agency’s Holiday Newsroom to help children and their parents write and send their best letters ever.

Adopter registration, ID verification and letter adoption will open in the next few weeks. Until then, potential adopters can learn a few things to be able to claim letters.

Potential adopters, once approved, can visit, read through the posted letters, pick one or more that they’d like to fulfill and follow the directions on how to grant that special wish for a child.

For security reasons, all potential adopters must be vetted through a short registration and ID verification process before they can adopt any letter. Even those who have adopted letters in the past must be verified anew.

Operation Santa started nearly 110 years ago in response to children’s letters to Santa. In 1912, Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock authorized local postmasters to allow postal employees and customers to respond to the letters.

The rest, like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, went down in history.

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