Need help with Christmas? A guide to USPS Operation Santa ®

Guess who wrote to Santa? This little girl received gifts from USPS Operation Santa volunteers one Christmas Eve, with her sisters looking on. Smiles all around! Write to Santa as a family, and put all your letters in one envelope, including a cover letter from a parent — or only one child may get gifts!


Woman crying in driveway
This single Mom cried in her driveway when volunteers’ gifts arrived unexpectedly on Christmas eve from volunteers. She said she had no money to buy her children gifts for Christmas. 
olunteers for USPS Operation Santa read letters at the Los Angeles post office.
Be An Elf recommends that friends team up to adopt one or more letters to Santa, and share the work, the fun, and the cost!
Patrick Reynolds, Chief Elf,, holds letters to Santa adopted by
Patrick Reynolds, Chief Elf at, holds letters to Santa adopted by the charity. 


Be An Elf offers support for families in real need, and to volunteers who wish to adopt their sad letters to Santa. 
  • suggests smart gifts, like backpacks, school supplies, new (not used) clothes, books, and a small gift for the mothers, whom the site says are sometimes feeling sad over the holidays.
  • Pay special attention to the letters from parents, whose children may be too little to write their own letters. Letters listing their children’s names, clothing and shoe sizes, or mentioning employment and health challenges, are signs their family truly needs help for the holidays. gives needy kids a brighter Christmas!



Need Help with Christmas? A guide to USPS Operation Santa ®
— offers support for families in real need, and to volunteers who wish to adopt their sad letters to Santa. —

Los Angeles – November 2, 2021 – The USPS has just begun reading letters to Santa, looking for letters from families who need assistance with Christmas this year. Some ask Santa for “new shoes” or “a warm coat,” sending a signal that this is a family in need. Postal elves upload those letters to and anyone wishing to volunteer at Christmas may adopt the sad letters from home, starting November 29th. Later volunteer elves can mail their gifts directly to the child or family who wrote to Santa.

Be An Elf’s page gives parents seeking help with Christmas an excellent guide for writing to Santa, providing useful do’s and don’ts, and using language that even children may read: “Santa has volunteers across the US who want to send extra gifts to families having a hard time with money this year. Volunteers are permitted to read those children’s letters to Santa at a special USPS website, and adopt the letter that touches their hearts the most.

“No worries! Postal staff who select children’s letters for posting at the website always put every letter right back in the mail to Santa. The USPS promptly delivers every letter to the jolly man in red at the North Pole, and he’ll bring his gifts on Christmas Eve to every child, as always.” also provides an excellent guide for volunteers wishing to adopt letters and send gifts to children in struggling families.

Some people feel alone and sad over the holidays, and find comfort and inspiration volunteering for this program. They catch the true spirit of the holidays knowing they will put smiles on kids’ faces on Christmas.

Be An Elf is a tax-exempt 501c3 charity, not affiliated with the USPS Operation Santa ®, but since 2004, the org has recruited thousands of volunteers for the Postal Service’s program. This year for the first time, the group also supports Operation Santa by offering a guide to needy families seeking help with Christmas, in addition to its tips for effective volunteering.

To protect the privacy of children, the USPS redacts children’s family names and home addresses from all letters posted. When a volunteer adopts a letter from home, they print it out, together with  a barcoded address label. They must then mail their gifts at any of 13,000 postal branches in the US that offer label scanning.

Letters to Santa must be postmarked by December 10 to be considered for the Operation Santa program. The US Postal Service ® has not missed a year since first offering the children’s letters in 1912. To learn more, visit


    Patrick Reynolds
    Be An Elf
    Source: Be An Elf


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.


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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.