WASHINGTON — Are you in a position to give a child or family some extra magic this season? If so, you can now adopt a letter written to Santa at USPSOperationSanta.com.
USPS Operation Santa relies solely on random acts of kindness and the generosity of strangers. The program is 110 years old this year. It allows people to help children and families have a magical holiday when they otherwise may not.
Since Sep. 15, the Postal Service has been receiving letters from all across the country and delivering them to Santa’s workshop at 123 Elf Road, North Pole, 88888. Letters sent with accurate postage and complete return addresses have been posted on USPSOperationSanta.com, and today is the day customers can begin reading and adopting them.
Instructions for letter adopters
Visit USPSOperationSanta.com, click on the registration link and follow the prompts to register and have your identity verified.
If potential adopters are unable to get their ID verified online, they will be provided a code and given instructions on how to get verified in person at a local Post Office location. Once verified, the adopter will receive a welcome email with detailed information on how to participate in the program.
Registered adopters can read letters at USPSOperationSanta.com and choose one to fulfill. Once a letter is chosen, adopters must follow the directions they received in their welcome email to ship gifts.
Packages must be shipped via Priority Mail service, but gifts do not need to be in Priority Mail- branded boxes.
The last day to adopt letters is Dec. 19, which coincides with the Priority Mail suggested deadline.
Letter adopters are responsible for postage fees to ship the gift packages.
Tips for reducing shipping costs
Postage to ship gifts is based on size, weight and distance. Smaller, lighter packages shipped in-state or to an adjacent state will be the less expensive shipping option. Here are some tips:
Use Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes, free at your local Post Office. Take a box when shopping and only purchase items that can fit in the box.
Adopt a letter from your state, or a nearby state.
Look at the dimensions of the gift very carefully, paying special attention to size and weight
Consider a gift card instead of purchasing larger, heavier items. Gift cards need to be sent in a Priority Mail envelope, 4-by-6 or larger, to accommodate the shipping label.
Information for letter writers:
Letters must include a first and last name and a clear, legible, complete return address, including apartment number, if applicable.
Envelopes must contain a First-Class Mail Forever stamp — or other First-Class Mail stamps that equal 60-cents in postage. See the online graphic for more information.
Letters can only be sent via First-Class Mail service in small, business-size or greeting card-size envelopes. They cannot be sent using Priority Mail service.
Letters must be postmarked by Dec. 12.
There is no guarantee that letters submitted to the program will be adopted.
Accept no imitations
There is only one USPS Operation Santa program, sanctioned by the Postal Service. Fulfilling wishes through the official program is voluntary, and any organization asking you to give them money to adopt letters is in violation of the laws under which the Postal Service operates and is not condoned by, or affiliated with, the Postal Service.