In 2019, USPS ® Operation Santa went online, with 2 Branches still accepting walk-in volunteers (New York City & Chicago). See below!


In 2019 the USPS Operation Santa ® program launched online adoption of letters to Santa at a new website, USPSoperationsanta.com.

Volunteers across the nation are able to read and adopt letters on the website, and send their gifts directly to kids and families from any of 19,000 postal branches that offer “label scanning.”

Letters to Santa must be mailed by December 14, 2019. Volunteers adopted letters so quickly when the online program launched, that there were not enough letters to adopt!

Volunteers were required to mail their gifts by December 20th, 2019 to be in time for Christmas delivery.



To find a post office that will accept the coded address label you printed out along with the Santa letter you adopted online, follow these steps:

  1. Go to USPS.com/locator. Fill in your zip code last.
  2. Under Filtered by, select Post OfficesTM in the drop-down menu.
  3. Under Services, select Label Broker in the drop-down menu.
  4. Under Within, select the number of miles you’re willing to travel to find a “Label Broker” post office.
  5. Fill in your zip code last, and click on Search.

The results will show the postal branches closest to you offering the required “Label broker” service. The hours are the same as the hours they are open.

When you are ready to take your package/s to the post office for mailing, apply the label you printed out.


If you try to buy postage at a branch without the “Label broker” service, you might be refused after waiting in a long line. The reason is, USPS employees are not permitted to place postage on packages without an address.

That’s why it’s best to add postage only when you are ready to mail your package. Find a local branch offering the “Label broker” service (see above). They’ll recognize the shipping label and gladly add postage there.

To protect the privacy of children, children’s family names and addresses are redacted from their letters, and a code is added to each letter. Package drop-off instructions will be printed out during the online letter adoption process at USPSoperationsanta.com.

Online volunteers must mail their gifts by December 20, but New York has extended the dates of its program, and Chicago may do so as well. See the bottom of this page, and check back for an update about Chicago.


Really do spend five minutes to read the tips we offer on our Writing to Santa page!

All letters sent to the address above will be reviewed for posting on the new USPS Operation Santa website. Mail your letter between mid November and December 14, 2019. To be adopted by Santa’s helper elves, it’s best if you mail your letter before Thanksgiving.

At the website, volunteers may filter by State; all states are listed. Every letter gets forwarded on to Santa. Santa does not have an email we know of; every letter must be mailed to him, and have postage added. 


Only letters written by kids and parents who truly need assistance for the holidays will be selected for posting online. Once they are posted, their letters may be adopted by volunteers all across the US. After a letter is adopted, it will be taken offline, but if a volunteer is unable to follow through and send gifts, they do have an option in their account at USPSoperationsanta.com  to release letters they adopted. These will be put back up for adoption at the site.  

USPS staff in the cities below selected the letters which were posted online in 2019. Letters from all across the US were forwarded to these cities, and after screening, postal workers forwarded every letter on to Santa.

• Austin
• Baltimore
• Boston
• Chicago
• Cleveland
• Denver
• Grand Rapids, Michigan
• Hatteras Island, North Carolina
• Los Angeles
• New York City
• Okracoke Island, North Carolina
• Orlando
• Philadelphia
• Phoenix
• Sacramento
• San Juan, Puerto Rico
• Washington D.C.

It should be noted that each year there are post offices in other cities where USPS staff get together informally, and answer letters to Santa themselves. And they always forward each letter on to Santa.


In 2019, volunteers were able to walk in and read letters in person at one branch in Chicago, and one in New York City. It is likey they will do this again in 2020. These are the only two branches that still accept walk-ins to read letters; the good news is that for the first time, letters could be adopted online from anywhere, and gifts mailed from almost anywhere in the US.

Here are the two branches which still permit the public to walk in and read letters at the branch. Both also post the letters to Santa online before sending them on to Santa.

• New York City 

James A. Farley Post Office
421 8th Ave
New York, NY 10199

Info line
(212) 330-3000
The machine may take a few rings to answer, but be patient!

Hours for reading / adoption of letters to Santa:

December 3 – 22, 2019
Monday – Saturday, 9am – 4pm
Thursdays only: 9am – 7pm

Last day for dropoff: December 22

Closed December 23 – 25th

After Christmas:
December 26 – January 4th, 2019
9am – 4pm
Final day for dropoff: January 4th


• Chicago

Chicago District Post Office
Cardiss Collins Facility
433 W Harrison St
Chicago IL 60607
Lobby, 2nd Floor Mezzanine

This branch has historically had a robust program over the years, with plenty of demand for letters to Santa. It’s one of the largest programs in the US. At this branch, USPS staff welcomed walk-in volunteers from the public.

2019 hours for reading / adoption of letters to Santa:

December 5 – December 19
7:30 am to 7 pm, Monday – Saturday
10am – 5:30pm, Sundays


Thank you for being an Elf! 

While you are waiting, we recommend that volunteer elves check out our How To Be An Elf page and do some planning. You’ll see tips like giving a holiday Elf party, and sharing the cost, the work with friends and neighbors. Wrapping gifts together over holiday cheer can be fun, and sharing the cost also helps. Indeed, the cost can run up to $100 per letter answered, if you send gifts to the siblings and the mom, too, which we recommend.

Another tip on the How To Be An Elf page: some volunteers answer multiple letters, and simply send families gift cards. They entrust the shopping to the Moms, who know what their kids need most.

Be An Elf uses tax-deductible donation to send a Target gift card to the family of every letter we adopt, with a card marked only, “From Santa.” We like their gift cards best, because at Target, parents are more likely to purchase gifts their kids need, like clothes, school supplies, as well as the gifts they want. Also, Targets are everywhere.

That’s why Be An Elf uses our tax-deductible donations to send Target gift cards to families whose letters we adopt. It also enables us to adopt many more Santa letters than in previous years. We have faith that the Moms know best what their kids need.

Please read our How To Be An Elf page for ideas for volunteering for this USPS tradition during the holidays.

We applaud the Postal Service for posting needy children’s Santa letters online. Starting November 18, 2019, go to USPSoperationsanta.com , and adopt a needy child’s letter to Santa!

Ho, ho, ho, and thanks for volunteering during the holidays this year!

Help us bring smiles to needy kids on Christmas morning.

Only volunteers sending gifts should contact us. Santa will not see your message here! If you're seeking gifts, contact Santa's Christmas volunteers through our Writing to Santa page. If you want to give gifts, click below.


Separation Decoration

Be An Elf is a tax-exempt 501c3 children's Christmas charity. Contributions are tax-deductible. We are not affiliated with USPS Operation Santa® but we support it by creating public awareness of the program online and in social media, by recruiting and orienting new volunteers to the program, and by offering tips to needy families writing to Santa. Be An Elf also uses donations to adopt letters to Santa and send gifts to the kids who wrote them. We will never share your info with third parties; see Be An Elf's privacy policy. ©2020 Be An Elf - All rights reserved.