Answer a letter to Santa
written by a child who needs
a brighter Christmas


You can read real letters to Santa from needy kids, take home one or more that move you, and send your gifts directly to the children who wrote the letters. 

There’s no middle man or charity; it’s micro-philanthropy, direct from you to a child, when you volunteer in this way. 

You’ll catch the true spirit of the holidays, and put smiles on the faces of needy kids on Christmas morning.



Every year, Be An Elf recruits new volunteers who adopt letters to Santa from low-income children. They
 read and select letters to Santa at a participating post office, and send their gifts directly to the neediest ones.

Children’s letters may be obtained only through the USPS Operation Letters to Santa ® program. We are not affiliated with the USPS ® or its wonderful program, but every year our tax-exempt charity supports it in several important ways.  

Thanks to donations from the public and an in-kind grant from Google, we build stronger public awareness of the program, and are able to recruit many new volunteers. At our website we post a list of postal branches where children’s letters are available, and provide tips for volunteering smartly and effectively. If the program is not offered locally in your city, we offer other ways to volunteer at Christmas. We also adopt letters to Santa ourselves.


Some of our volunteers feel alone and sad over the holidays, and find comfort and inspiration being part of this program. Others have families and bring their kids, to teach them the meaning of Christmas. 

The venerable USPS ® makes the Santa letters available to the public every year starting around December 1st, and the program ends a few days before Christmas. Come alone, or bring your kids! 



Be An Elf’s website is a great resource to learn how and where to volunteer for the USPS ® program. At our How to be an Elf page, near the top you’ll find a link to the most current National Directory of USPS Operation Santa ® postal branches.  In 2014, only 18 postal branches nationwide offered the program, mostly in large cities. If there are no participating branches near you, our site also offers excellent Other Ways to Be An Elf.


We provide some great tips for adopting Santa letters — for example, we suggest you host a small Christmas gathering and share the work, the cost and the fun. Ask each friend you invite to bring a gift, and then wrap them all at the party. Volunteer Elf Lauren in Brooklyn, NY, gave a Be An Elf party and asked her friends to bring a gift or contribute toward the cost, and they wrapped the gifts together. At  our How to be an Elf page you’ll find other great tips, too, like our suggestions for buying gifts for children.


So this December, go get your letters and tell your friends. Post this site on Facebook or tweet it, using the icons above. We also hope news orgs will add this site to their websites, or better still, have anchors mention this page at the end of their coverage of the wonderful USPS Operation Santa ® program. If they do, the public will be able to easily locate the postal branches participating in this year letters to Santa program.


Be An Elf’s mission is to make more underprivileged children smile on Christmas morning, and to inspire people with the real spirit of Christmas. The USPS ® started their wonderful program in 1912, and since then they have never missed a year.


If you can’t volunteer to adopt a letter to Santa and send gifts, please donate online to Be An Elf or give by check to support our group’s gift giving and mission. 


Your gift will be used to send gifts to needy families, help us create public awareness of the program, and recruit new volunteers for the Operation Santa ® program. Together we can bring joy to more children in need on Christmas morning.


Please post our site on your Facebook page or tweet it,  donate online or volunteer to Be an Elf!




Increase your impact by using high resolution photos on our photos page or press resources page


Be An Elf is a private, tax-exempt organization and, while we support it, we are not affiliated in any way with the United States Postal Service® or Operation Santa ®

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