Give back this holiday season by adopting a letter to Santa.
Give back this holiday season by adopting a letter to Santa.

Adopt a Kid's Letter to Santa via USPS This Holiday Season

The annual USPS Operation Santa program has gone national in 2020—a year when we could all use a bit more cheer. Once again, families and organizations have a chance to play Santa by adopting a letter from a child or family in need, and this year, the USPS has opened the program up to kids across the country, not just select cities.

Adopt a letter (or two!) beginning Friday, December 4, and kids (or even adults) can write a letter to "Santa" with their holiday wish list through December 15, 2020. 

The USPS Operation Santa has been in existence for more than a century, and each year it receives hundreds of hundreds of thousands of letters addressed to Santa from children. While most letter writers ask for toys and games, others wish for basic necessities. Understandably, without the generosity of individuals, families, and companies who pitch in to respond, these kids would be disappointed.

Visit USPSOperationSanta.com to browse and find a letter to adopt as well as read up on all the details on how to submit a letter or how to adopt one.

Those who wish to adopt a letter will create an account on the website for a short vetting process. Choose a letter that fits your budget, of course. It is up to the adopter whether or not they purchase one or even every item on the wish list, the USPS notes. Then shop, pack, and send gifts from a participating post office by December 19. Senders pay for postage themselves.

Kids who want to write a letter to Santa simply send a stamped envelope with the letter to the proper address as listed by USPS (Santa Claus, 123 Elf Road, North Pole 88888), and be sure to include a return address, so Santa's helpers can find them to deliver the gifts.

For the safety of the participants, all personally identifiable information of anyone who writes to USPS Operation Santa is redacted from the letters. The code on the letter links to the letter writer’s address.

RELATED: How to Find Free Toys for Kids This Holiday Season


Answer one of those thousands of letters the USPS receives each season by mailing a gift to a child in need. Photo via the USPS

How did Operation Santa get its start? 

The Postal Service—then the Post Office Department—began receiving letters to Santa Claus more than 100 years ago. In 1912, Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock authorized local Postmasters to allow postal employees and citizens to respond to the letters—a program that eventually became known as Operation Santa. By the 1940s, mail volume for Santa increased to the point that the Postal Service invited charitable organizations and corporations to participate by providing written responses and small gifts. Throughout the years, the program blossomed and took on a life of its own. Now, people can go online and help make the holiday season that much more magical for those in need. 

The USPS released a documentary about the program for 2020, aptly titled Operation Santa.

Find more ways to spread holiday cheer and give back in our local Holiday and Christmas Fun Guides.

A version of this article first published in 2019.

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