Is the US Post Operation Santa Claus real?

In the spirit of giving this Christmas, the U.S. Postal Service will continue its tradition of Operation Santa Claus, begun in 1912, which pairs needy families with others to make their holiday wish lists. The program accepts letters from families across the country with a Christmas wish list.

The letters are then uploaded to the website, where other families can “adopt” a letter by reading and filling out wish lists online.

According to La Poste:

Every day can be a challenge for some families who are just trying to make ends meet.

The expectations of the vacation put extra pressure on those same families who want to make it special, but just can’t. This is where the USPS Operation Santa program – and the generous Postal Service patrons – can help make a vacation a joyful and magical one. Since the start of the program, hundreds of thousands of underprivileged children and their families have been helped by the kindness of others.

Letters should be addressed to “the official address of Santa’s workshop” which is Santa Claus, 123 Elf Road, North Pole, 88888. Letters to the program must be postmarked by December 10, affixed with a first class forever postmark, and have a return address. The Postal Service does not guarantee that all letters will be answered.

The program began in 1912 when children were actually trying to send letters to Santa Claus through the postal service:

It was not until 1912 that Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock authorized local postmasters to allow postal workers and customers to respond to letters. This simple act of kindness led to a very successful vacation program benefiting deserving children and families across the United States.

The instructions for submitting and adopting a letter are as follows:

It is entirely up to the letter writer to know what appears on their wishlist. But the more specific the writers are with sizes, colors, styles, favorite authors, book titles, toys, etc., the more their wishes will be granted if their letter is adopted.

When a person writes a letter, it is opened by Santa’s elves, and for security reasons all personally identifiable information of the author of the letter is removed (i.e. name, address , zip code) and uploaded to for adoption.
[…]The registration of adopters, verification of identity and adoption of the letter will open in the coming weeks. Until then, there are a few things to know for those considering adopting a letter.

Potential adopters, once approved, can visit, read the published letters, choose one or more they would like to achieve, and follow the instructions on how to make that special wish for a child come true. For security reasons, all potential adopters must be screened through a short registration and identity verification process before they can adopt a letter. If you have adopted letters in the past, you should still be audited annually.

Businesses are also getting into the spirit of the season by creating teams to adopt letters – all the better to help grant those special wishes to deserving families and children.

More details about the program can be found on the Operation Santa Claus website.


“Help Santa Claus to give joy this year!” US Postal Service, Accessed November 22, 2021.

“USPS Operation Santa is now accepting letters for the 2021 program.” About.Usps.Com, November 1, 2021. Accessed November 22, 2021.

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