The U.S. Postal Service’s Operation Santa program kicks off its 107th season this month — and this year, post office employees are working with the jolly old elf to ensure Christmas cheer for the children of Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.
The postal service 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.
In the 1940s, mail volume for Santa increased so much that the Postal Service invited charitable organizations and corporations to participate by providing written responses and small gifts.
Through the years, the program grew and took on a life of its own. 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.
The adoption program is only available in select areas, and this year Hatteras and Ocracoke are on the list. Letters can be both submitted and adopted by customers on both islands,
Also new this year, Santa has an official postal address:
123 Elf Road
When writing to Santa, it’s important to use the new address as well as making sure there is a stamp on the envelope — in the upper right hand corner — that will help the letters reach Santa in time to consider granting a child’s holiday wish.
Beginning Nov. 18, customers can adopt letters to Santa online at USPSOperationSanta.com. Though the letters can be adopted online, the person donating must go to a post office that offers “Label Broker” as an on-site service to send the gift. Adopters can find qualifying Label Broker™ Post Offices by visiting the Post Office™ Locator usps.com/locator.
How to write a letter
Sending a letter to Santa is easy if you know how. The Postal Service is here to help with guides and tips to help kids write and send the best letter ever. All the information you could possibly need to write a letter, address an envelope, put on a stamp, and send it on its way can be found on USPSOperationSanta.com/GetInvolved and in the postal Holiday Newsroom. The only thing the Postal Service can’t help with is to tell kids what to ask for. That is up to their imagination, and we would never stifle creativity. These tips are also good all year-round for sending thank you cards, birthday cards, or a letter to Grandma and Grandpa just to say “hi.”
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.