Operation Santa launches Dec. 4 to spread holiday goodwill letters to Santa Claus available for public to adopt and answer.
“For generations, writing a letter to Santa Claus has been a tradition during the holidays, and for some kindhearted folks, answering those letters has also been a holiday custom for the past century,” according to a news release.
Back in 1912, Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock first authorized postal employees and local citizens to respond to the many letters written to Santa. The holiday goodwill program, known as Operation Santa, has changed over the years but continues to make wishes come true. In the 1940’s, mail volume for Santa grew so much that the Postal Service invited local businesses and charitable organizations to participate.
Persons interested in answering a “Dear Santa letter” can visit the Operation Santa location at the Sierra Coastal District office, 28201 Franklin Pkwy., Santa Clarita CA 91383 on Dec. 4, 9, 11, 16 and 18; from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Today, over a hundred years later, handwritten letters containing dreams and wishes still arrive at the Post Office addressed to Santa Claus, according to a news release. Although current privacy and security regulations prevent personal information contained in the letters, such as a last name and address, being provided to the public, the program continues on in many locations with the Postal Service stepping in as middle man.
“Businesses and corporations, charitable groups and individual citizens can adopt letters from children or families who may need some extra help this year,” said Post Office officials.
Personal information in the letters is redacted by USPS staff and those who adopt letters make a return trip to the Post Office to mail the letter or package and pay the postage. USPS staff applies the name and address and gets it delivered, according to a news release.
For Operation Santa information call 661-775-6731.
Photo identification must be presented to adopt a letter, according to a news release. Participants will be provided a copy of the Santa letter of their choice, which is coded and has had personal information removed.
When they return to mail a gift letter or package, the Postal Service will match the coded photocopy Santa letter with the original and apply the name and address to the item.
– Kimberly Beers