Christina Majaski | 

USPS Operation Santa Is Back — Send Your Letters to Santa by Dec. 11

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If you’re looking for a way to give back this holiday season, we have just the idea for you. USPS has kicked off its annual Operation Santa and we’ve got all the details on how the program works, as well as how you can get involved and spread some holiday cheer. Keep in mind, this isn’t the only way the USPS gives back. There’s also the USPS Stamp Out Hunger campaign every May and when you change your address, you’ll get some sweet USPS moving coupons.

Through Operation Santa, kids can send letters to Santa, and members of the community can adopt a family and fulfill their wishlists this Christmas. Children pen letters and send them through USPS, which then scans the letters and posts them online. Then we can browse the letters, select a family to adopt and ship them items from their wishlist to help make their Christmas an even merrier one.

Children should send their letters to Santa by Dec. 11, 2023, and those letters become available for adoption and wish fulfillment through Dec. 18. Let’s break it all down:

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Send your letter to Santa by Dec. 11 for the chance to have your wishlist fulfilled.

4 steps to how Operation Santa works.

If your child wants to write a letter to Santa, there are several helpful templates to download on the Operation Santa website.

Here are the all steps your child needs.

1. Write your letter to Santa

In your best handwriting, create a list of the gifts you’d like to receive this year. List your favorite gifts first and try your best to keep them affordable and easy to find. Include your full name and address so Santa knows where to deliver the gifts. This information will not be made public — only shared with Santa (and his helpers at the USPS!).

2. Address the envelope.

If you’d like to reach out to Santa Claus, you can send a letter to the following address.
123 Elf Road
North Pole, 88888

3. Mail the envelope.

Include your full name and return address along with your apartment number in the upper left corner and attach a First-Class stamp in the upper right corner.

That’s it! You’re ready to mail your letter to Santa. Just be sure the letter is postmarked by Dec. 11, 2023, to be included in the Operation Santa program. If you can’t get a letter in this year by the cutoff date, bookmark this information for next year! The dates have not changed in the past few years, so we expect the same schedule annually.


Adopt a family and send gifts by Dec. 18 to arrive by Christmas.

Letters to santa from Operation Santa.

Sometimes, Santa and his team of hardworking elves need a little help from kind and generous people who believe in the spirit of Christmas.

If that’s you, visit the USPS Operation Santa site and click “letter adoption.” You’ll need to register and verify your ID. If you have any hitches with the online verification service, visit any USPS location for help.

Letter adoption began on Nov. 20 so you can start checking lists twice right away. If you’re registered, you’ll get a list of potential donation matches and their list of desired items. You can be a deputy Christmas elf by adopting up to 15 letters per registered donor.

Lastly, if you feel too much pressure (financially or in terms of time and logistics) to handle elfing by yourself, you can sign up as a team with friends, family, coworkers, and other kindhearted do-gooders to make a family’s Christmas wish come true. You can also read some of the letters on the site before committing to any child’s request, so you don’t have to worry about committing to more than you can handle.

Related: Is the Post Office Open Christmas Eve?



How to ship Operation Santa gifts to children.

1. Select a child or family to adopt.

Create an account and get verified, then read the letters and adopt one you love. You do not have to fulfill everything on the wishlist and you can read through them before committing to adopting to ensure you can stay within your budget.

You can send up to six packages per individual adoption, and 12 packages per family adoption. Please note that you’ll have to pay for postage for every package.

2. Wrap and pack your gift.

Remember, these gifts are coming straight from Santa so you’ll want to wrap them for the child to open on Christmas morning. If you’d like to include a personal note, please use the Note from Santa template from your Operation Santa instruction packet. You can write a note of your own as well, just please remember to sign it from Santa to keep it anonymous — and to keep the magic alive!

3. Mail packages before December 18.

Dec. 18, 2023, is the last day to adopt a letter and a good time to ship your gift to ensure holiday delivery.

Once wrapped, package the gifts according to the USPS shipping guidelines. Here are a couple of noteworthy tips:

  • Do not write any addresses or notes on the package. You’ll receive a QR code when you register for Operation Santa, and the Post Office will scan your code — just let them know you’re mailing an Operation Santa gift.
  • Contents must not weigh more than 70 pounds.
  • The maximum combined length and girth is 108 inches (girth is the distance around the thickest part of the package).
  • Batteries must be installed in electronic devices.
  • Electronic skateboards, scooters, e-bikes, fireworks/sparklers, and perfume are not mailable and are prohibited in the USPS Operation Santa program.


Important USPS Operation Santa Dates

  • Monday, Sept. 18: Letters can be sent to 123 Elf Road, North Pole, 88888.
  • Monday, Nov. 6: Preregistration and ID verification for adopters begins.
  • Monday, Nov. 20: Letter adoption begins.
  • Monday, Dec. 11: Last day to send letters. Letters must be postmarked by this date.
  • Monday, Dec. 18: This is the last day to adopt letters before the website closes at 8 p.m. ET. We recommend sending packages by this date to arrive by Dec. 25.

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