Two wonderful programs offered by the United States Postal Service at Christmas time are Operation Santa and Letters from Santa-North Pole Postmarks.
Operation Santa is marking its 100th year of being in the business of fulfilling Christmas wishes to needy families and children nationwide. Santa’s helpers or elves–not sure which they would prefer to be called, are flooded with requests to help make holiday dreams come true.
Last year the iconic James A. Farley Building on Eighth Avenue, the main post office in NYC, and the largest Operation Santa program in the country received 500,000 requests. Their program runs from December 8th-December 23rd, Monday through Saturday. The Manhattan landmark is visited by tens of thousand of people who come in person to adopt a letter or two from a deserving family. They are not always asking for toys, but for articles of clothing, for school supplies, for a toothbrush or other personal care items.
If you are interested in adopting a letter and fulfiling a need, visit a Post Office, select the letter(s) and sign their postal form. When you are all set to fulfill the child’s wishes, you return with the letter and/or item you are mailing and then bring items back to the post office. For security reasons all reference to the child’s address is blacked out and instead the letter is assigned a number. The postal employee will match the number on the letter with the child’s address and weighs the package. You pay for postage and then the Postal Service will print a mailing label and apply it to the package without you seeing the child’s address.
This year the USPS’s main post office said they already got 30,000 letters and surely there are so many more to come given the bad economy and Hurricane Sandy. Currently 26 locations participate, some of which may work a bit differently so check with your local post office for more information.
In honor of the program’s anniversary, the postal service has issued a commemorative Santa stamp, holiday ornament and a book, which could be fun to collect for the kid in all of us and a good memory for those that adopt a letter and family for the holiday.
The USPS’s “Letters from Santa-North Pole Postmarks” program enables a grandparent, parent, family member or anyone significant in a child’s life to mail a letter to that child “from Santa” which is postmarked from the North Pole. Pretty cool.
“Letters From Santa” instructions:
1. Write a letter to your child from Santa Claus and sign it “From Santa.”
2. Insert the letter into an envelope addressed to your child with the return address: ?SANTA, NORTH POLE.
3. Ensure a First-Class stamp is affixed to the envelope.
4. Place the envelope into a larger envelope, with appropriate postage, and address the larger envelope to:
NORTH POLE POSTMARK, POSTMASTER 4141 POSTMARK DR, ANCHORAGE AK 99530-9998
The postal elves created a Letters to Santa Writing Kit for the first time, which includes crayons, stationery envelopes and stickers to help children create their message to Santa. The writing kit also features artwork from the Santa and Sleigh Forever stamps released earlier this year.
Seems to me the CEO or Chief Elf Officer from the US Post Office seems to have a direct line to St. Nick and I believe has one of the most important jobs I can think of—except of course you know whom!!!
I hope making a wish come true for a child or a family is on everyone’s list.