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Millions of children, at this time of year, write letters to Santa Claus. Most letters are a request for what they would like Santa to bring them on the most famous night of nights, Christmas Eve. 

The United States Postal Service fields all those letters, making sure Santa gets them. Sometimes, with the large number of letters being mailed, Santa could use a little help answering those letters. The USPS calls that Operation Santa. 

Darcy Hibbs, Postmaster of the Cut Bank Post Office, said they receive approximately 100 letters to Santa, starting in November, from children in Cut Bank. She wanted people to know what a wonderful program Operation Santa is and how it can be a way people can give back to children from all over the country, “one letter to Santa at a time.”

Hibbs shared, “Operation Santa is a perfect way to match the resources of the Postal Service with the wishes of a child to celebrate the true spirit of Christmas.  Reading through the letters is a sweet reminder of how blessed we are and how simple it is to pay it forward.”

Here is how Operation Santa works.

If you are willing to be a Santa elf for the season, all you have to do is go to USPSOperationSanta.com to look at some of the letters the Post Offices around the country have received. From that site, you can follow the instructions to adopt a letter, any letter.

You will be asked to create a profile of yourself and to provide identification saying you are, who you say you are. Then you can print the letter you have selected, purchase the Santa requested present and take the package to your local post office, using what is called a “QR” code (on the letter) that ties back to the child receiving the gift. 

The person mailing the package does not have access to the child’s address or name. All costs for mailing the present or package, are paid by the person who has adopted that letter for that child.  

The child receiving your gift will never know your name or address either, they will only believe that Santa fulfilled their Christmas wish and the gift will be given to them for Christmas this year. 

Additional information on the program can be found at the United Postal Services’ website at https://www.uspsoperationsanta.com/.

“I love the idea of gifting to those in need as I believe gifting from the heart is the true meaning of the season instead of fulfilling a materialistic need,” said Hibbs. 

The USPS has operated a Operation Santa program for over 100 years, with the first one starting in 1912. Postmaster General at that time, Frank Hitchcock, authorized local postmasters to recruit “elves” for Santa and have those elves adopt the letters being mailed to Santa. Many of the elves were postal employees in the beginning and then, thanks to the number of letters, local citizens became involved.

In the 1940s, Santa started receiving even more letters sent through the USPS and it was then, the USPS invited charitable organizations and corporations to participate in providing written responses to those letters as well as small gifts.

With its continued popularity, Operation Santa soon became part of the USPS mission which reads, “The mission of USPS Operation Santa is to provide a channel where people can give back and help children and families, enabling them to have a magical holiday when they otherwise might not, one letter to Santa at a time.”

One of the most asked questions the USPS gets about this program is, how many kids and families has this program helped. Their response? “Countless.”

Whether you believe in Santa Claus or not, you can be the jolly elf this holiday season for someone who does believe. You just might make their Christmas and you know what, it just might make yours as well.

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