If you celebrate Christmas, chances are good that you have written at least one letter to Santa in your life. And if you have a child, chances are good that you sat down with your child to write at least one letter to Santa. The only difference is that as an adult, you know full well that the letter is not going to be answered by anyone.
But what if it was? For 100 years, the United States Postal Service has been making children’s holiday wishes come true through the Letters to Santa Program.
Starting in 1912, local postmasters and postal employees started responding to some of the letters to Santa sent by children each year. In the last 60 years, however, the program has taken that good deed one step further as postal workers, working with charitable organizations, businesses and individual citizens have tried to make a difference in the lives of thousands of children each holiday season.
How Do Letters to Santa Work?
The Letters to Santa Program, also known as Operation Santa, works in different ways to respond to children’s letters from across the United States. In some cities, postal employees coordinate with local schools to write letters back to children as if they were Santa. In others, they work with local organizations or businesses to collect gifts to send to the children and some involve the public, asking for people to adopt letters to Santa and respond and/or send gifts to the children through the post office.
The largest Operation Santa program is in New York City, which receives more than one million letters to Santa each year. At the beginning of each December, the program kicks off the holiday season with a celebration where thousands of people line up to adopt letters.
How Can You Help With These Letters to Santa?
Letters addressed to Santa are received by post offices in every city in America and, unless they have a valid address, they are held in the post office in the city where they were sent. By simply contacting your local post office at the beginning of December, you can find out how to get involved in your local Letters to Santa program.
Whether you adopt a letter to answer by writing back or by sending a gift from the list, you can be sure that you will make a child’s Christmas brighter…and probably make your own holidays a little more meaningful as well. You can also organize efforts in your own community by gathering people together to participate in the Operation Santa program.
As the USPS Letters to Santa Program celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2012, the tradition continues across the country to respond to the thousands of letters written to Santa by children each year. U.S. postal employees have made it a priority to make Christmas wishes come true and have pledged that Operation Santa will continue for many more years to come in communities all over the United States.