Last Updated on November 18, 2021 by USPS
WASHINGTON, DC — USPS Operation Santa is looking for people to adopt letters — and registration opened November 15.
For the next two weeks, kind-hearted people across the country will be able to create accounts on USPSOperationSanta.com in anticipation of helping to fulfill the holiday wishes of children and families in need.
For families struggling to make ends meet, providing a nice holiday celebration can be daunting. Even figuring out how to have a good dinner can cause undue stress. But the Postal Service and Santa are here to help.
The USPS Operation Santa program provides families who may be facing financial hardships with a little extra help during the holiday season.
Since the program began 109 years ago, good-hearted people have helped hundreds of thousands of children and their families by fulfilling holiday wishes. You don’t have to be religious or even believe in Santa to participate.
How To Register To Adopt Letters
To register, anyone wanting to adopt a letter should 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 can go into any one of the 19,000 Post Office locations which offer the Label Broker service to get verified in person. Qualifying Post Office locations can 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.
Beginning Nov. 29, approved adopters can visit USPSOperationSanta.com, read through the posted letters and choose one or more they’d like to fulfill. Once the letters are chosen, the adopters must follow the directions they received in their welcome email in order to fulfill the holiday wishes.
Businesses and other organizations can also get into the spirit of the season by creating teams to adopt letters. Everyone participating on a team must also go through the verification process.
Letter adopters are responsible for all costs to ship the gift packages, including appropriate postage.
Hundreds of thousands of letters are written to the USPS Operation Santa program every year in hopes of being adopted. These letters are opened by “Santa’s Elves” and, for safety reasons, all personally identifiable information of the letter writers are removed (such as last names, addresses, ZIP Codes) and uploaded to USPSOperationSanta.com for adoption.
Letters will be available for adoption beginning Nov. 29. Verified adopters can read the letters and pick one — or more — that they’d like to fulfill.
There is no guarantee that letters submitted to the program will be adopted.
USPS Operation Santa History
The Postal Service began receiving letters to Santa more than a century ago. In 1912 Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock authorized local postmasters to allow postal employees and customers to respond to them. This act of kindness became what is now known as USPS Operation Santa.
The complete program history can be found online at the USPS Holiday Newsroom, along with additional news and information, including all domestic, international and military 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.