Letters to Santa are mailed by children across the country.
During mail processing, the letters default to a designated “Letters to Santa/Operation Santa” tray or bin.
Postal employees open and sort the letters.
The “needy” letters are copied and both the original letter and a copy of the letter receive the same number.
After copying, the original letter is filed in numerical order and secured.
On the copy of the letter, all of the child’s personal information is removed by redacting it or blacking it out, then the letter is placed in a public “adoption” area.
A customer comes into the Post Office to adopt a letter to Santa.
The customer may then read and choose up to 10 letters.
The “Secret Santa” leaves with the redacted copy of the letter to fulfill the writer’s request.
The customer returns to the same Post Office with a wrapped gift, preferably boxed and ready to be mailed to the child.
The customer gives the postal clerk the box containing the wrapped gift(s) and the adopted letter.
The postal clerk takes the box and retrieves the original letter (using the numbering system) to create a mailing label.
The customer pays the postage to mail the box to the child and never sees the address for the child.
After the customer departs, the box is addressed by postal employees who will put the address on the box and place it in the mailstream for dispatch.