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USPS Operation Santa – Brighten a Child’s Christmas By Helping Santa Answer His Mail!

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Santa writing Nice list

Looking for a way to brighten a child’s Christmas this year? πŸŽ„πŸŽ…πŸŽ

Kids have been writing letters to Santa Claus forever, asking for everything from toys to basic necessities. This year, you can spread some Christmas cheer by helping Santa answer one of those letters through the United States Post Office’s program called Operation Santa.

This week, the USPS launched a new website allowing the general public to view and “adopt” letters from children and families in need. After removing last names and addresses, scanning the letters, and posting them online, the USPS forwards every letter to Santa at the North Pole.


elf reading letter for Operation Santa

Photo credit: BeAnElf.org

Want to be one of Santa’s elves this year?

Visit the USPS Operation Santa website, click on “Adopt a Letter,” and choose a letter that tugs at your heart. Although the website just went live and we aren’t finding any letters available yet, Santa gets more mail than anyone we know! We’re expecting that there will be many letters to choose from very soon.

You can adopt a letter from a hopeful child or from a parent who’s writing on behalf of their family. You can even pick a letter from someone in your local community or state! Christmas wishes come in all shapes and sizes, so choose one that speaks to you and fits within your budget.

You can also adopt letters as a team with a group of people from your neighborhood, religious organization, or workplace! Shop, wrap, and mail your gift(s) by December 20th in time for delivery by Christmas. Finally, help spread the word about this great cause by sharing your experience on social media with the hashtag #USPSOperationSanta!


family receiving gifts from USPS Operation Santa

Photo credit: BeAnElf.org

If you want to learn more about supporting this program or if you or a family you know would like to send a letter to Operation Santa, you can find out more at BeAnElf.org. Be An Elf is not affiliated with the USPS, but it’s a non-profit organization that offers assistance for both Operation Santa volunteers and families in need.


Need gift ideas? Check out our gift guides for everyone on your list!

Join The Discussion

Comments 35

  1. CarrieL

    The gift of giving. Love it! I’m going to have my teenagers each choose one that speaks to them. Thanks!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      How sweet! You’re welcome, CarrieL!

  2. bakerbaker999

    I love this! Thank you for posting. Last year (our last year of believing for my youngest daughter), she received a letter FROM SANTA. My older daughter thought for sure I wrote it, but I was just as surprised as both of them! I still have no idea who wrote that letter, but it truly sealed our belief–even after finding out the “truth”–that there are some very sweet people out there! Thanks again for posting! We’ll be paying it forward!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Aww, I love that! You’re so very welcome! Thanks for taking a moment to share with us! Such a sweet memory to have.

  3. Amy

    OMG I love this. Thanks for sharing! Maybe someone here can help me with this. I have “adopted” A family for Christmas. One of the kids is a teenager who plays a lot Dungeons and Dragons with his friends. I don’t know anything about it and I’m having trouble coming up with anything other than dice. If anyone would have some suggestions I would be incredibly grateful 😊

    • bmcdonald06

      There are D&D books to help with the gameplay and storyline.

    • Amy

      Thank you! I’ll look into that 😊

    • michael

      there are also D&D figurines.

    • shannon

      My boyfriend plays this so I have picked some things up! There are boxes called spell cards that he likes, also, amazon has a bunch of cool maps that act as a game play scene and those would be a great gift too!

    • Geo

      We use dice trays. They sell them, but they are also fairly easy to make (shadow box frame plus adhesive felt). The custom options are really nice!

    • Amy

      Thank you all so much! I really appreciate the suggestions. 😊

  4. texasketogal

    Hmm shows me no families and no individuals. Anyone else have this issue?

    • susan

      You have to create an account first before they show the letters

      • wendy

        I created an account and still no letters.

  5. rachael

    I hope they have some letters posted soon πŸ™‚

  6. Jodi P

    You can even choose a letter from your state or (possibly) city, once the letters are available online. Postage is charged according to the number of zones the package will cross, so choosing a letter closer to home will save yourself a bit of money.

  7. Amy

    After clicking through for more information, the letters from children accepted for this can only be shipped from 17 specific cities. Hopefully they will get enough interest to be able to expand that bc this is such a wonderful idea!

    • maclunkey_fever

      I saw that, too. Was hoping to help someone local. For anyone who’s wondering, from the website: “IN 2019, LETTERS ASKING SANTA FOR HELP WITH CHRISTMAS SHOULD BE SENT TO THE ABOVE ADDRESS, AND MAILED FROM ANY OF THE CITIES ON THE LIST BELOW. ONLY LETTERS MAILED FROM THESE CITIES WILL BE READ FOR POSSIBLE POSTING ONLINE AT THE USPS WEBSITE. FAMILY NAMES AND ADDRESSES WILL BE REMOVED BY USPS STAFF. ALL LETTERS SHOULD BE MAILED TO SANTA, 123 ELF ROAD, NORTH POLE 88888 β€’ Austin β€’ Baltimore β€’ Boston β€’ Chicago β€’ Cleveland β€’ Denver β€’ Grand Rapids, Michigan β€’ Hatteras Island, North Carolina β€’ Los Angeles β€’ New York City β€’ Okracoke Island, North Carolina β€’ Orlando β€’ Philadelphia β€’ Phoenix β€’ Sacramento β€’ San Juan, Puerto Rico β€’ Washington D.C.”

      • SavingsMama

        Yes, I just read that too after clicking the link. I’d honestly like to help a local family out. I think this is a cool idea, but needs to be expanded. 17 cities out of the entire U.S. isn’t much :/

    • momof5kidsunder8

      Yes I hope they expand it is so few cities

  8. momof5kidsunder8

    I was really really hoping to see our city on the list. I didnt know it was so selective. To get help this holiday would have been amazing I’ll have to see what else is out there. I’ve got a newborn and 4 other kids and I’ve been gone hospitalized for high blood pressure. Food is priority over presents right now. My kids are such good sports through all the stress going on.

    • Lisa

      Check your post office, every city I’ve ever lived in has Santa letters at the Post Office for adoption and they are all local.

    • Ashley

      Check into the salvation army. They might be able to help, too.

    • cbakerd3

      What’s your email? I’ll send you a gift card.

      • momof5kidsunder8

        That would be the sweetest thing ever

        • cbakerd3

          Check your email. I’ve sent you a target gift card. It’s not much but I hope it helps!

          • momof5kidsunder8

            Yes πŸ™‚ Thank you so much, it means a lot to me. I hope next year we are better off and I can pay it forward

  9. Lisa

    This is neat. Our Post Office puts Santa letters out on a table at the Post Office for adoption. This will be our 23 year picking on and delivering gifts locally.

    • SavingsMama

      Wow, had no idea…I wonder if our local post office does that. That’s cool, because I definitely like the idea of kids physically writing Santa and I’d hate to think only the ones in the 17cities get responsed to.

  10. ddd0319

    We inexplicably got packages from this program last year not knowing it even existed. We don’t consider ourselves in need at all but it was such an incredible and generous surprise (it took us awhile to figure out where it had come from!) I hope to be able to pay to forward. ❀️

  11. MelRox

    I registered and went through the process and got to a screen that says you can start adopting letters on December 4th!

  12. Kristine

    According to the FAQ section of the USPS website for this program, they will scan letters from anyone that writes Santa regardless of the city they are from. I only saw specific cities listed on the be an elf website.

  13. Trisha

    One is available on the website for me. A 13 year old wants an Apple laptop. Me too, 13 year old, me too πŸ˜‚

    • Britit

      Wow really…brand specified and all?! Haha. In a few years that 13 year old will learn how many hours of work it takes to pay for it and maybe head to the library for free internet use πŸ˜„ Sidenote, I often use a 5 year old computer…dinosaur status…lol and a little Starbucks at home plus patience & my Hip2Save pages load up just fine, I mean eventually they do. Your comment was too funny, because I said the same thing…”me tooπŸ˜‚”

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