How To Help The U.S. Postal Service Write Letters From Santa For "Operation Santa" In 2017

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One of our many holiday traditions is writing a letter to Santa Claus, in the hopes that he'll see it, mark you on his nice list, write back, and bring you all the presents you want and more. Well, the big guy needs a little help responding to all those letters this year, and he's going to get it. The United States Postal Service has launched its Operation Santa program, and they're in over their heads. Now, they're asking for volunteers to step up and fill the shoes of Santa's elves, because there are too many letters to handle.

Operation Santa is a program the USPS has been running for 105 years. For over a century, we know that the postal service has been getting letters from little kids addressed to Santa Claus. In 1912, Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock gave permission for local Postmasters to allow employees and everyday citizens to respond to these letters. The number of letters they received continued to climb; and in 1940, community groups, corporations, and charities joined in to help respond to children's letters to Santa.

Operation Santa runs in cities all over the country, managed lovingly by employees who respond to letters and sign them with Santa's name.

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Additionally, some post offices invite the public to "adopt" letters and respond themselves. And this year, the USPS is in desperate need of more people to adopt.

The response this holiday season is proving to be significant. The program currently include letters received from the U.S. Virgin Islands and hurricane-plagued Puerto Rico. Another new change this year is happening in New York, where volunteer "elves" can go through digital letters at delivercheer.com. Depending on your location, you might be able to pick up a letter in person. You should first check what's happening in your area, if you want to get involved. The USPS could use all the help they can get, so that every child who wrote to Santa Claus will get a response.

This isn't the only way your little one can get in touch with jolly old St. Nick. If you or someone you know wants to write a letter to Santa, you have a number of options.

Get A Postmarked Letter Back

According to the Los Angeles Times, you can get a letter back from Santa with a postmark from the North Pole. (Oh boy!) Have your kiddie write their letter.

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Then, you give Santa a hand and write the response for him. Put both letters in a self-addressed, stamped envelope, and mark the return address as, "Santa, North Pole." Put that envelope in a bigger envelope addressed to:

North Pole Postmark Postmaster

4141 Postmark Drive

Anchorage, AK 99530-9998

They must get your letter by December 15! Santa's elves in Anchorage will postmark your envelope and send it back.

Send Santa A Message Online

Yes, Santa uses the internet. This is 2017, after all. Visit ElfOnTheShelf.com and send Santa a message. His elves respond to every one they get.

Write Santa For A Good Cause

If you want to send Santa a message and do a good deed, drop your letter off in the big red mailbox at your local Macy's. You can also do it online. For every letter Macy's gets, they will donate $1 (and up to $1 million) to Make-A-Wish, for kids with life-threatening illnesses.

Reaching out to Santa to tell him how good you've been this year is one of the joys of being a child. And an adult. I still write letters to Santa. Hah! Just kidding.

Not really.

This year, help spread the holiday cheer by visiting your local USPS and inquiring about responding to letters to Santa.