NORTH POLE, Alaska — (Note: The video above is from a related story.)
It's no secret that Santa delivers Christmas joy to children all around the world, and that's a tall order for one man. That's why the U.S. Postal Service is inviting you to help bring cheer to families in need this holiday season through its USPS Operation Santa, now open for letter adoption.
The program has helped hundreds of thousands of people for more than a century, according to a release from the Postal Service. To participate in the program, write a letter, put it in an envelope with a First-Class Mail stamp, including your full return address (apartment number, directional information such as North, South, East or West and ZIP Code) and send it to Santa's official workshop address:
123 Elf Road
North Pole, 88888
You don't have to be religious or even believe in Santa to participate, the Postal Service says. The program is accepting letters postmarked by Dec. 10.
The letters will be uploaded to USPSOperationSanta.com through Dec. 15, where those who want to adopt a letter can read through them and pick one or more wishes they would like to make come true. Adopters must register on the website and go through an identification verification process before they can participate each year for security reasons.
Once the letters are chosen, adopters must follow the directions they receive in their welcome email in order to make sure gifts arrive on time. Letters can be adopted through Dec. 22, and packages can be shipped until Jan. 14.
Letter adopters are responsible for all costs to ship the gift packages, including appropriate postage, the release says.
Letters without full return addresses or names will not be posted for adoption, the release says. So, just as Santa always checks his list twice, letter writers should also check their letters twice to make sure the full return address is included in both the letter and on the envelope. All personally identifiable information is removed when the letter is uploaded to USPSOperationSanta.com for adoption and only given to the adopter after it is selected.
See below for a step-by-step guide on how to write the perfect letter to Santa.
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Please do not include anything with glitter or any items glued to the paper. Letters with items glued to them will not be uploaded to the website for adoption, the release says.
If prospective adopters cannot verify their identity online, they will be given a code and instructions on how to get verified in person at one of 19,000 participating Post Office locations. Once approved, the adopter will receive a welcome email with detailed information on how to participate, the release says.
There is no guarantee that every letter submitted to the program will be adopted, the Post Office says.