Santa could use some little helpers and you could help give a child in need a better Christmas.

By Michelle Darrisaw
December 06, 2017
Children Writing Letter to Santa
This is one Christmas tradition that just never gets old. In the South, we're faithful advocates of letter-writing for every occasion (thank-you notes, seasonal greetings, the list goes on and on…). Penning a letter to Santa is one way to pass on the tradition of letter-writing to your kids.
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If you're looking for a way to give back this holiday season, we may have just the right charitable task for you. It appears that "The Big Guy" at the North Pole is inundated with letters from all the gift-seeking boys and girls around the world. Every year, the kiddos who made the "nice" list compose adorable notes addressed to Old Saint Nick, hoping that their toy-filled dreams will be fulfilled on Christmas Day. The United States Postal Service (USPS) wants to help those dreams come true, with its annual Operation Santa program.

This year marks the 105th anniversary of volunteer elves signing up to "adopt" a letter and responding to deserving children and families. According to the USPS, the program was started in 1912 when Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock required USPS employees to reply back to letters, signed by Kris Kringle. Due to its rapid success in the 1940s, USPS began working with nonprofits to meet the demands of the young and hopeful senders.

Now the USPS is calling on those who want to volunteer their time and resources to read through the letters and/or purchase the gifts requested in the "adopted" letter. In addition, Operation Santa will include letters sent in from kids and families from hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"We want everyone to have that opportunity to help somebody who they may not even know have a great Christmas and a great holiday season," USPS Marketing Manager Allen Tanko told PIX11.

For those interested in applying their letter-writing skills to assist a child or family in need, head over to your local post office. Although the deadline varies by location, most offices have a deadline of Friday, December 8. You'll have the opportunity to choose a letter. Once you've found a "Dear Santa" letter that speaks to you personally, inform one of the postal clerks. Gift givers will have the chance to bring packages back to the post office to be sent to the eager recipient.

Beyond making a Christmas wish come true, USPS advocates that Operation Santa "helps to promote literacy" as a "letter to Santa is often a child's first written correspondence."

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Set aside some time this busy holiday season to participate in Operation Santa. Helping those who are disadvantaged just might ensure Santa Claus fills your stocking with more than just coal this year.