The first few photos below show real children and Moms receiving gifts from volunteers for the USPS ® program on Christmas Eve, 2004.

Photos further down this page show volunteers from the public reading children’s letters to Santa.

Until 2008, the Postal Service ® left children’s home addresses on their letters, and volunteers could deliver gifts directly to families’ front doors. It was a moving experience; the photos of families receiving gifts below were taken by volunteer Patrick Reynolds.

In 2008, the US Postal Service ® began removing children’s home addresses to protect their privacy; since that Christmas, only postal workers may deliver gifts to families.

We hope the media will be permitted to follow postal workers as they deliver gifts from volunteers. For now, these are the best photos we have of children and families receiving gifts.

Journalists may click here to download additional art and a package of broadcast quality HD video B-roll. Please credit if photos or video are used.

When clickable, the photos below link to a high resolution file of that photo.

Be An Elf volunteer Hans Dohm delivers Christmas gifts on Christmas eve,
2004. Since 2008, only mail carriers may deliver volunteers’ gifts.

A mother is overwhelmed with surprise and delight. “I had no money to buy
my children presents this year. Thank you so much! This is wonderful.” And

With that, she began to cry.

Hans just held her while she sobbed.

Three single mothers were all smiles. The Moms and their kids were sharing
this home. They said there was no bed, and Hans got them a bed.

Guess who wrote to Santa! Our guess is, she shared her gifts with her sisters.

Sorry, but I need to go inside now. Thank you! Merry Christmas!

“Thank you, she will love these! And thanks for the present for me! Merry Christmas!”

The back of volunteer Elf Hans Dohm’s van, loaded with presents.
This was taken Christmas eve 2004, as Hans delivered his gifts to needy children who wrote to Santa.

The photos below were taken in the Los Angeles post office on Central Avenue,
in South Central Los Angeles, in December, 2013.
All the below click the through to high resolution images.

Above: presents dropped off by Operation Santa volunteers,
waiting to be addressed and shipped to families by the Postal Service.

Above: volunteer Patrick Reynolds reads letters
to Santa in Los Angeles on December 3, 2013.

©2016 Be An Elf - All rights reserved.


Help us bring smiles to needy kids on Christmas morning.

Only volunteers may contact us. Santa will not see your message here! If you're seeking gifts, here is the best place we know where you can write to Santa!