Operation Santa begins 107th year of helping children

information provided by the United States Postal Service

BEDFORD PARK, Ill. (December 1, 2019) — Each year thousands of letters are sent to Santa. Most ask for toys and games. Some ask for clothes and shoes and other basic necessities. A few ask for help for themselves and their loved ones.

The Postal Service began receiving letters to Santa Claus more than 100 years ago. In 1912, Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock authorized local postmasters to allow postal employees and citizens to respond to the letters—this became known as Operation Santa.


In the 1940s, mail volume for Santa increased so much that the Postal Service invited charitable organizations and corporations to participate by providing written responses and small gifts.

Through the years, the program grew. Today, customers can go online to browse through the letters, and if a letter touches them, they can adopt it and respond. Customers choosing to adopt a letter online or in person will be required to go through a short registration and ID verification process.

The Operation Santa website (USPSOperationSanta.com) allows individuals and organizations to review the letters to Santa and select any they want to respond to. Though the website was live already in November, it will not be populated with letters from children until December 2.

It’s important to note that even though the letters are adopted online, the adopter must go to a Post Office that offers “Label Broker” as an on-site service to send the gift. Adopters can find qualifying Label Broker™ Post Offices by visiting the Post Office™ Locator.

The Lansing, Illinois, Post Office at 18125 Roy Street does offer Label Broker™ services.

The Lansing, Illinois, post office is located at 18125 Roy Street. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
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