This year, for the first time, the USPS’s Operation Santa program is both virtual and nationwide in the U.S. That means more kids can write in asking for clothing, shoes and toys, and more “adopters” can make those Christmas wishes come true.
The United States Postal Service’s Operation Santa is more than 100 years old, but until now, it’s largely been a local program. It has expanded in recent years to allow for potential “Santas” in some cities to peruse letters online, but for most of its history, a Santa would visit their post office in person, page through the letters and choose one (or more) to adopt. Then they would shop, wrap, sign Santa’s name and ship it out to the letter-writer.
This year, all letters received before Dec. 15 will be uploaded to the Operation Santa website and made available for adoption — although the USPS urges families to send the letters in ASAP for the best chance to have yours adopted.
Starting on Dec. 4, customers can begin reviewing this year’s letters. Until then, to get you in the holiday spirit, you can read a collection of letters from previous years.
If you live in the U.S. and your child wants to write a letter, follow these directions from the USPS:
1. Santa’s mailing address should be placed in the middle of the envelope. Letters can be addressed simply to SANTA CLAUS, but we prefer his official Postal Service address:
123 ELF ROAD
NORTH POLE 88888
2. Write your full name and address in the upper left corner.
3. Then, apply a first-class stamp in the upper right.
They also stress that letters requesting clothing or shoes should include specific sizes and colours. Any requests for toys, games or books should also be as specific as possible.
Gift-givers will be vetted through a short registration and identification process, and the full name and address of the letter-writer will be protected. Gifts should preferably be wrapped; if you include a note, be sure to sign Santa’s name (not your own). Drop off your package at any post office location; you won’t be able to track it, due to privacy concerns, but you will receive an email confirmation when the gifts are delivered.