U.S. Postal Service's 'Operation Santa' Seeks People to Adopt Kids' Sweet Letters & Send Replies
Children can send letters to Santa Claus at 123 Elf Road, North Pole, 88888
'Tis the season for giving — and what better way to celebrate than to help the United States Postal Service keep the magic of Santa Claus alive?2
Though the program dates back to 1912, this year is the first time that the USPS is expanding it from a local effort to the nationwide level, and they are now searching for volunteers to act as "Santa" this holiday season, according to the USPS website.
"Through the years, the program grew and took on a life of its own," the USPS wrote. "Today, customers can go online to browse through the letters and if one touches them, they can adopt it and help the child have a magical holiday."
Beginning on Dec. 4, Americans will be able to sign up for the letter adoption through the USPS website. There is a verification process to ensure that all letter writers are kept safe and to confirm the identity of who is sending the gifts.
Once approved, volunteers can "adopt" as many letters as they want (so long as they are fulfilled) and will have a chance to respond to a child's letter, as well as send gifts to them or families.
More information on the process and guidelines can be found here.
According to the USPS, the campaign first started in the early 1900s after the Postal Service started receiving letters to Santa.
In response to the influx of letters, Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock created Santa's first mailroom and "authorized local Postmasters to allow postal employees and citizens to respond to the letters."
Over the years, the program — which eventually became known as "Operation Santa" — has boomed, with the Postal Service even inviting charitable organizations and corporations to participate.
This year, the USPS said there will be no in-person letter adoptions due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but encouraged people to share their personal experiences using the hashtag #USPSOperationSanta.
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The USPS also noted that families can attempt to be recipients of the program by writing a letter to Santa Claus at 123 Elf Road, North Pole, 88888.
The envelopes should include their full name and address, as well as a first-class stamp in the upper right corner.
The Postal Service also said the letters should be specific, with the names and titles of requested toys, games and books, as well as the sizes and colors of clothes and shoes.
"Letters received before Dec. 15 will be uploaded and made available for adoption, though the sooner your letter is received, the more likely it is to be answered," the Postal Service said.
More information on writing letters can be found here.