Each year, hundreds of thousands of children write letters to Santa Claus, but did you know that sometimes Santa responds? Operation Santa, a program run by the Postal Service, allows children to mail a letter to a special Santa address. Then volunteers — including postal employees, customers, or teams — can adopt the letter and send a gift to the letter writer.

This program began in 1912, when Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock authorized local postmasters, postal employees, and customers to respond to the letters from Santa. In the 1940s there were so many letters, the Postal Service invited charitable organizations and organizations to participate. Over the years, the program grew into what it is today.

Between December 4 and 19, volunteers can read through the letters online, pick one or more to adopt, pick a gift the child asked Santa for, and bring the packaged gift to any post office, which then sends it to the child. Don’t worry, letter adopters will at no point be able to access the personal information or postal addresses of children or their parents. Or vice versa. The Postal Service encourages all packages be mailed by December 19 to arrive in time for Christmas but does allow volunteers to mail them later.

Have you or someone you know mailed a letter to Operation Santa…or adopted a letter or letters?

Comments (19)

  • anon

    I'm needing help with Christmas gifts for my children and I would be very happy to also help with the process of giving out the gifts and or food boxes for families for Christmas. Thanks for your time in this matter may God bless us all!! Amen and amen

    Dec 04, 2021
  • anon

    Why are santas helpers constantly reading letters. I've tried to adopt a letter 4 times and none available to read! Sounds like a typical USPS nightmare. What a shame.

    Dec 02, 2021
  • anon

    Hello dear santa , i know your probably really busy getting most kids presents and i know thats allota work for you and getting raindeers ready for there long run to drop off presents , i was really hoping you can stop by and drop off my 5 children some great goodies im a single mother with a new born hes 3 months old ❤️ im really hoping to hear from you pretty soon santa love the estrada family

    Nov 03, 2021
  • anon

    I need my kids presents for last year Santa will supposed to send us gifts for the past two years and the post office stole it I have proof that our names were chosen to receive gifts I we never got them and I mean many complaints to the post office and they refused to investigate the case my kids had nothing for Christmas not one thing we depended on Santa and they stole it from us and nobody cares please help us cuz they would still put a smile on your face to get those gifts

    Jul 14, 2021
  • anon

    This was the first year we wrote to Santa. I was told by the mailman that we would get a letter in return if we wrote to Santa. It was disappointing that we did not receive a letter but considering that there is a pandemic...I think that that's understandable. We appreciate that you have these programs in place when feasible and that was a lesson for my daughter.

    Mar 19, 2021
  • anon

    This has been a hard year for us. I have never asked for help, I always managed it and I was really hoping that this was going to help us. We got a letter a day before Christmas Eve from Santa it was from the operation Santa thanking us for the letter. But we never received the presents. I honestly hope whoever adopted our kids didn't spend too much money.

    Jan 16, 2021
  • anon

    My kids joined Operation Santa 2020 and they didn't receive a gift. Sad, I lost my job due to Coronavirus and hit a financial situation. Guess we will try again next year

    Jan 16, 2021
  • anon

    My daughter's keep asking for Santa and the letter they sent and they never respond. No gift no message. On the beginning I told my daughter the letter was for santa to send her gift they were so happy. When Christmas came till now nothing have received. I had to go to the store wrap it in gift and tell them it was santa. So very disappointed

    Jan 14, 2021
  • anon

    My kids sent letters for Operation Santa at the beginning of December. It is almost mid January and they still haven't recieved anything either. Looks like a lot of people experienced the same thing. :(

    Jan 13, 2021
  • anon

    When I heard of Operation Santa I felt like my prayers were maybe gonna be answered because this year was the year that I could not do a thing for my son for Christmas. I took his letter and also wrote one myself explaining our current situation. I made sure to put the right postage, as well as a return address. I don't know what the postal workers go by when picking and choosing which letters to post and after reading through several I just assumed all letters got posted. I went online daily and either never saw letters from our area or they were out of letters to adopt and it said check back for they will be adding more. Nothing ever came and that is the worst feeling in the world to not have even a big holiday meal to make let alone Christmas gifts for your child. I pray he did get picked and it's just mail delays, I pray that is the case for all the children that wrote and still have not received anything. For some kids this year that would of been all they would of gotten so I can't imagine why the post office would pick and choose what letters to post as long as they had a return address to reply to then every letter should be posted no matter what. I pray something gives soon and we do get some sort of relief. Maybe then I can do a tiny late holiday but he asks everyday and the later it gets the worse I feel. I pray everyone out there will get relief and all the kids that are still waiting receive something. Happy holidays and god bless everyone

    Jan 01, 2021
  • anon

    My children also did not receive any gifts. I had my daughter and my niece both write letters and mailed them in the same day. My niece got a huge box of gifts delivered to her door 5 days before Christmas. We are now halfway through Jaunuary, and still nothing for my kids. I guess they won’t be getting anything from “Santa”.

    Jan 11, 2021
  • anon

    I adopted a letter this year and sent my package by December 17 by priority 3 day mail as is required and the package has yet to be delivered. It has been stuck on ‘shipping late’ and unmoved since December 21st. So now I’m out over $100 and this poor kid (and looks like others below) didn’t receive anything ? This is really unacceptable as it is your program! I can’t complain or file a complaint since it is anonymous and I don’t have the address. I’d love some ideas on how to fix this and at least get my kid his gifts ASAP. I hade a tracking number I’m following but as stated there has been no movement in a week.

    Dec 28, 2020
  • anon

    My daughter also wrote a letter and i know of several other families who wrote early in December. No one received anything.

    Dec 28, 2020
  • anon

    Hi, my daughter wrote a letter to Santa for the operation Santa program,we mailed it out very early December. When I checked the website by the 14th of December- I checked all letters on the website from and OHIO and I did not see her letter on there so when I talked to the post office they said most likely her letter was adopted. SHE NEVER RECEIVED A PACKAGE? I seen over 23,000 letters were adopted and I can’t imagine her let her not being a doctor considering she was just asking for basic things like clothes. Now, there was a few packages stolen around my Neighborhood ( not from my porch though) how do I find out if somebody did send her something?? I would appreciate if somebody would let me know that way I could track the package so I can figure out what happened to it? She had Only 1 small CHRISTMAS gift and I feel horrible.. but I gave been out of work due to COVID which she also did put in her letter. I just don’t know what to do or how to find out. I would appreciate anybody’s help to figure out what to do from here . Thanks so much Michelle J

    Dec 27, 2020
  • anon

    This is exactly what happened to my child and daily I looked for letters from our area and never ever found any let alone his. Three other families that I know also wrote from the same town and that's how it was for them. The worst part of the program is not knowing if your child has been adopted and if you have no other way to get their Christmas it makes it tough because you don't know what to do but hope and pray. Here it is the first of the new year and we are still praying, looking, and hoping for some delayed gift. It makes me wonder why so many people have had the same experience with operation santa as us. Good luck and god bless

    Jan 01, 2021
  • anon

    My kids' letters were posted to the website on 12/4 and disappeared the same day. I assumed they were adopted, but it's 12/23 and I've heard nothing. My informed delivery advises of several packages "awaiting item." Is there a chance they will still receive something today or tomorrow?

    Dec 23, 2020
  • anon

    I'm just learning about this program and it sounds so wonderful. Same question as Kelley- where do we sign up?

    Dec 18, 2020
  • anon

    Where can you sign up for this?

    Dec 14, 2020
  • anon

    Hello

    Dec 14, 2020

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