The deadline is coming up quickly, so act fast.

Your mail carrier helps to deliver letters to and from your home all year long—but before Christmas arrives, they may be charged with delivering a very important note from your family all the way to the North Pole. The United States Postal Service has been receiving letters, notes, and holiday wish lists addressed to Santa Claus from families across the nation for more than 100 years, but it wasn't until 1912 when then Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock created a program now known as Operation Santa to help Santa answer all of those letters he receives each and every year.

boy writing a letter to Santa
Credit: visual space / Getty Images

Post officials know just how special it is for a little one to open a note from Santa himself, so they've made it easier than ever for you to ensure your family receives handwritten letters from Saint Nick himself. And if you're willing to help in the spirit of the holidays, you can take some time to answer letters on Santa's behalf, too. We're sharing how you can help kids and teens alike send a note to Santa Claus in the North Pole, and if you're inclined, how to answer some letters yourself.

How to Write to Santa

According to Kim Frum, a senior public relations representative with the United States Postal Service, you'll need to get your child's letter to Santa Claus in the mail by December 8. Letters addressed to Santa will travel all the way to Anchorage, Alaska, where the postmaster will help spread holiday magic by sending back a pre-written reply that is affixed with an official North Pole Postmark.

You'll need to address your child's note to the following address exactly as it appears here:

"North Pole Postmark


4141 Postmark Drive

Anchorage, AK 99530-9998"

Have your child practice their penmanship by writing a one-page letter addressed to Santa. Then, later that day, Frum suggests that you save paper by writing a personalized response (signed "From Santa") right on the back of the same page. In the same envelope that is being sent to Santa, you'll need to include another pre-addressed envelope to your child that bears the return address with "Santa, North Pole" on the upper left corner of the envelope. This second envelope should have a first-class mail stamp affixed so it can be sent back to your home. Frum says the holiday greeting should return to your home by Christmas Eve, just in time for December 25.

If you've missed the December 8 deadline, don't fret! The holiday elves at the Santa Claus Village and Museum in Santa Claus, Indiana, will respond to any Christmas note addressed to Santa, as long as it's received by December 20. Send a note alongside a legible return address to: Santa Claus, PO Box 1, Santa Claus, Indiana, 47579. You'll get a free response from Santa before Christmas arrives.

How to Help Santa and Grant Wish Lists

Operation Santa was largely made into what it is today back in the 1940s when the sheer number of letters addressed to Santa inspired officials to ask charities and corporations to give back by providing written responses to letters and small gifts, if possible. Now in its 107th year, the USPS has opened the program to anyone who wishes to "sponsor" a holiday letter by providing a written response and sending gifts to families in need. This year, families with a wish list will send their notes to a secret address—123 Elf Road, North Pole, 88888—and USPS officials will sort the notes, with local post office employees spending time responding to each and every letter including a handwritten response signed by Santa himself.

Residents living in 15 different metropolitan areas (including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C., among others) will have the opportunity to go online and read thousands of letters addressed to Santa. Volunteers can then choose to respond to as many as they'd like while remaining anonymous, and they can send gifts to these families with their post office's help should they choose to do so. It's one of the easiest and kindest ways your family can choose to spread a little holiday cheer this year—after all, Santa needs all the help he can get. For more information on how you can participate in the program, visit your local post office or head to the USPS Operation Santa web portal to get started.


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