This year marks the 109th year of USPS Operation Santa.
Postal employees began responding to letters written to Santa in the early 1900s. In 1912, customers could respond as well. For nearly 100 years, the program operated at the local level in a variety of ways. In 2009, changing with the times, the Postal
Service began redacting all personally identifiable information in the letters before customers could see them. The redaction process was time-consuming and labor-intensive. To keep the program sustainable, it went digital.
Between 2017-2019, tests were conducted that expanded year over year. The first test was in New York City. The second test was in seven locations around the country. The third test was in 19 locations. In 2020, the program expanded nationwide for the
first time in its history.
Stamped envelopes sent to Santa’s official Postal Service address, SANTA CLAUS, 123 ELF ROAD, NORTH POLE 88888 — or to just Santa Claus North Pole — are processed seamlessly to a central location where the letters are opened, reviewed,
coded, redacted and uploaded into the website, USPSOperationSanta.com, for the public to review and adopt.
Here’s what postmasters should know:
- 123 Elf Road, North Pole, 88888 is indeed a real address.
- If you see a stamped envelope with that address, or a stamped envelope simply addressed to Santa Claus, please treat it like any other piece of First-Class Mail.
- If the envelope does not have a postage stamp, employees at the Post Office can respond to them if they so choose; however, the rules below must be followed. Templates are available on the Postal Communicator’s Toolbox at https://blue.usps.gov/corpcomm/toolbox/,
under “Santa Response Letters.”
- Letters to Santa can be sent between Nov. 1 and Dec. 10.
- Beginning Nov. 15, the USPSOperationSanta.com website opens for registration and ID verification. Customers unable to be verified online will be coming into post office locations to get verified in person. Please review the process for ID verification.
The information can be found on the Postal Communicator’s Toolbox at https://blue.usps.gov/corpcomm/toolbox/, under Holiday 2021, under USPS Operation Santa.
- Beginning Nov. 29, when the website opens for letter adoption, customers will begin coming into post office locations to ship packages. They have been instructed to tell you it’s an Operation Santa package and they will show you a QR Code.
- Please review the steps involved in processing Operation Santa packages, including scanning the QR Code, Label Broker, calculating postage, making sure the customer doesn’t see the destinating address and not providing tracking information to
the customer. The information can be found on the Postal Communicator’s Toolbox at https://blue.usps.gov/corpcomm/toolbox/, under Holiday 2021, under USPS Operation Santa.
- The Operation Santa Label Broker process will remain operational through Jan. 14.
- If a customer asks about the program, you can refer them to USPSOperationSanta.com, or the USPS Operation Santa social channels: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
- If you have questions, email OperationSanta@usps.gov. You can also give customers this email address.
FOR INTERNAL USPS OPERATION SANTA PROGRAMS
If there are employees at your facility that want to respond to the letters to Santa that do not have postage stamps,
please have them follow these rules:
- Only current employees can have access to letters to Santa that haven’t been redacted.
- Only letters sent to Santa without postage can be adopted by postal employees.
- Hand-written letters and/or thoughtful gifts can be sent to the letter writer through the U.S. Mail.
- No cash or gifts can be solicited or received from customers.
- Because this is a Postal Service-sanctioned program, G-10 use is permitted for sending responses in letter form.
- Packages sent in response to the letter writer must contain proper postage. G-10 use for packages is not permitted.
- Envelopes and packages are to be delivered by the carrier responsible for delivering to the respective address as part of his/her delivery route.
- No personal delivery of letters or packages to residences by letter adopter is permitted.
UPMA - USPS Operation Santa 2021 (PDF)