Bring Cheer to Children and Families in Need This Holiday Season
Over the past three weeks, the Postal Service has been delivering letters from all across the country to Santa’s workshop at 123 Elf Road. And today, they are ready to be fulfilled.
Adopting a Letter
Registered adopters should visit USPSOperationSanta.com, read through the letters and pick one or more wishes that they’d like to make come true. Once the letters are chosen, adopters must follow the directions they received in their welcome email in order to make sure gifts arrive on time. Letters can be adopted through Dec. 22. Packages can be shipped until Jan. 14.
Letter adopters are responsible for all costs to ship the gift packages, including appropriate postage.
There is still time to help make this holiday special for so many. Visit USPSOperationSanta.com, click on the registration link and follow the prompts. For security reasons, all prospective adopters must be vetted through a short registration and ID verification process before they can participate. If someone has adopted letters in the past, they must still be verified each year.
If for some reason potential adopters are unable to verify their identity online, they will be provided a code and given instructions on how to get verified in person at one of the 19,000 participating Post Office locations which offer the Label Broker service. Qualifying Post Office locations can also be found online using the usps.com/locator tool. Once approved, the adopter will receive a welcome email with detailed information on how to participate in the program.
Businesses and other organizations can also get into the spirit of the season by forming teams to adopt letters. Everyone participating on a team must also go through the verification process.
Letters will be posted to the website twice a day. New for this year is a countdown clock so participants will know when new letters will be posted and available for selection.
Accept No Imitations
There is only one USPS Operation Santa program, sanctioned by the Postal Service. Fulfilling wishes through the official program is voluntary and any organization asking you to give them money to adopt letters is in violation of the laws under which the Postal Service operates and is not condoned by, or affiliated with, the United States Postal Service.
USPS Operation Santa was established by the Postal Service 109 years ago to help those in need experience a happy holiday season. You don’t have to be religious or even believe in Santa to participate.
Program participation is simple. Just write a letter, not an email, put it in an envelope affixed with a First-Class Mail stamp, and make sure you include your full return address — apartment number, directional information (i.e., E Main St, Apt 103) and ZIP Code — and send it to Santa’s official workshop address:
123 Elf Road
North Pole, 88888
Just as Santa always checks his list twice, letter writers should also always double-check to make sure their full return address is included in both the letter AND on the envelope. For letter writers who don’t know how to properly address and stamp an envelope, the How to Write the Perfect Letter to Santa graphic in our Holiday Newsroom can help.
Letters without full return addresses or names will not be posted for adoption.
The program began accepting letters Nov. 1. Letters must be postmarked by Dec. 10 and will be uploaded to the website through Dec. 15. The last day to adopt letters is Dec. 22 and packages can be shipped until Jan. 14. So, if you haven’t written your letter yet, you still have some time.
There is no guarantee that letters submitted to the program will be adopted.
When someone writes a letter, it is opened by “Santa’s Elves,” and for safety reasons, all personally identifiable information of the letter writer is removed (such as last name, address, ZIP Code) and uploaded to USPSOperationSanta.com for adoption.
How to Write a Letter
Sending a letter to Santa is easy and the Postal Service has guides and tips to help kids write and send their best letters ever. All the information you could possibly need on how to write a letter, address an envelope, put on a stamp it and send it on its way can be found on USPSOperationSanta.com and in our Holiday Newsroom.
These tips are also good year-round for sending thank-you cards, birthday cards, or letters to friends and family just to say “Hi.”
How about what to ask for in the letter? Well, that’s up to the creativity of each and every person who writes in. But the more specific writers are with sizes, colors, styles, favorite authors, book titles, toys, etc., the better chance their wishes will be granted if their letter is adopted.
Some kids include artwork in their letters. Santa and his elves love seeing all the creativity, but please don’t include anything with glitter or other items (such as macaroni) glued to the paper. Letters with items glued to them will not be uploaded to the website for adoption.
USPS Operation Santa History
The Postal Service began receiving letters to Santa more than a century ago. In 1912, then-Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock authorized local postmasters to allow postal employees and customers to respond to them. This became what is now known as USPS Operation Santa.
The complete Operation Santa history can be found online at the USPS Holiday Newsroom, along with additional news and information, including all mailing and shipping deadlines.
The Postal Service generally receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.