Here’s How To Brighten Someone’s Christmas With Operation Santa

updated Oct 3, 2023
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(Image credit: Evgeny Glazunov)

If you want to do some good and bring a little holiday magic into your life and the lives of others, you can play St. Nick for a family in need through Operation Santa. You can “adopt” a letter to Kris Kringle that was sent to the USPS and help make the holidays happier with a few easy steps.

Operation Santa started in 1912 when the postmaster at the time allowed postal employees to open and read the letters addressed to Santa. The program was expanded to the public in the 1940s, and now there are Operation Santa outposts all over the country.

How does it work? You browse through the letters written to Santa, choose the one you’d like to fulfill and adopt it. After you’ve purchased the gifts requested in the letter, wrap them and get them ready to ship, stop by your participating post office (not all post offices are drop off spots, so make sure there’s one in your area) with your form and ID and they’ll deliver it to the family.

The letters come from kids and adults and the requests range from toys to assistance with bills. “Santas” aren’t required to fulfill every gift on the list, they can respond with a few gifts or a handwritten letter (from St. Nick of course). There are also ways to adopt as a team, if your office or friend group is looking for a way to give back this December. Deadlines vary per post office, but most places cut off around December 15.

Happy gifting!

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