Letters to Santa Program - 2013

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Find information about Letters to Santa 2014 here.

  1. What is the origin of the program?
  2. The Postal Service began receiving letters to Santa Claus more than 100 years ago.

    In 1912, Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock authorized local postmasters to let employees and citizens respond to these letters. This became known as Operation Santa.

    In the 1940s, mail volume for Santa increased so much that the Postal Service invited charitable organizations and corporations to participate by providing written responses and small gifts.

    Today, cities around the country have robust Letters to Santa programs with participation by recognized charitable organizations, major corporations, local businesses and postal employees making a big difference in the lives of children during the holiday from coast to coast.

    This year we are officially celebrating the 101st anniversary of the Letters to Santa program, an annual tradition embraced by the U.S. Postal Service and public alike.

  3. When and why were national policies and procedures established for the program?
  4. They were first established in 2006. Unfortunately, we live in an age where we must be careful about freely identifying the full names and addresses of children sending letters to Santa. Our goal is to protect the safety and privacy of children and their families while still allowing people to help them by fulfilling the wishes they express in their letters to Santa.

    Individuals and organizations who would like to participate in the Letters to Santa program are now asked to come to their local participating Post Office, present ID and fill out a short informational form before receiving copies of original letters to Santa from children. These copies have last names and addresses blacked out.

  5. Did these changes decrease participation?
  6. We don’t think so. We continue to receive millions of letters to Santa from children nationwide.

  7. Does every Post Office participate in the program?
  8. No. Participation is voluntary. The decision to participate is made at the local level. If an office does participate, it follows the procedures we’ve established for the program. Most major metropolitan areas have active programs.

  9. How many letters to Santa does the Postal Service receive every year?
  10. We believe the number is easily in the millions.

Letters to Santa

Letters to Santa


Letters to Santa program information