Operation Santa Claus

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Operation Santa Claus

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Operation Santa Claus Tips and Advice

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Operation Santa Claus is an incredible and very worthy organization that depends entirely upon the goodwill of volunteers. Operation Santa Claus had its informal start during the 1920's when New York City postal employees pooled their own money to buy gifts for poor children whose letters to Santa ended up in the dead-letter box. As the number of letters grew, the public began to be involved in the effort and now there are chapters of Operation Santa Claus in many American cities and villages. Individuals, corporations and civic groups are encouraged to contact their local post office for letters or to write or call Operation Santa Claus in New York. This year in New York alone, the letters are expected to reach 750,000!

There are so many ways to set aside small gift items during the year that won't break your budget.  Many people want to do something for a child during the holidays but have financial difficulties of their own. Oftentimes, just putting together a Christmas stocking for a child in need will bring Christmas cheer to both you and the child. Here are some suggestions from people who have taken part in Operation Santa Claus in past years.


Purchase sale items during the year such as small stuffed toys, articles of warm clothing, Christmas stockings and stocking stuffers. Almost all drug stores and department stores discount Christmas toys and decorations immediately after the holiday by 50-75 percent. That is an excellent time to stock up for Operation Santa Claus for next year. Needy children also love to get Christmas cards that they can give to their family and friends. Pick up several boxes of cards and include some in your package.


Put together a Christmas stocking for each child and include personal care items such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, hair brushes, combs, hair bows, nail polish, and school supplies such as pencils and pens, along with the usual Christmas goodies. You can pick up some really lovely stockings at most dollar stores after Christmas for pennies on the dollar.


Stock up on discounted Christmas ornaments and include one for each child. It is a very special gift for a child who may or may not have a Christmas tree.


Do you have a Christmas closet or drawer that you store gifts in? Purchasing a large plastic covered tub just for this purpose is very handy as well as a great way to organize your Operation Santa gifts.


We all get those "free with purchase" items that we very likely have no use for, but don't want to discard because they have value. Toss those into your Operation Santa Claus storage tub. You will be amazed at how many nice things you have at the end of the year.

When reading letters that you have picked up from your local post office, please remember that not all letters are really from needy or disadvantaged children. These letters are opened and sorted by volunteers and due to the sheer mass of letters to Santa each year, it is not always possible to determine which ones are from truly needy children. A good rule of thumb is if the child is asking for warm clothing or for needed items for herself / himself or family members, rather than for the latest Nintendo or X Box, then chances are that this child really is in need. These children will often ask for school supplies or a gift for a parent as well. Use common sense as well as your heart and this will be a wonderful experience for you!


To Get Dear Santa Letters

Operation Santa ClausEach year kind hearted people bring Operation Santa Claus to life by answering "Dear Santa" letters from needy children who would otherwise have no Christmas at all. This year Operation Santa Claus may be available at your local post office so please check with your postmaster to find out where you can get Dear Santa letters. Dear Santa letters will no longer sent out by mail, so if you would like to participate in this wonderful program, simply visit your local post office to pick up Santa letters in person.

You may visit Operation Santa Claus at the James A. Farley Building in New York to pick up Dear Santa letters. Letters must be picked up in person and will no longer be able to be requested by phone. Each person requesting "Dear Santa" Letters can receive a maximum of 6 letters.

If you live in New York, you may pick up letters in person. You can pick up letters in person at the James A. Farley Building. The Operation Santa Claus program will commence on December 2, 2011 and will end on December 24, 2011. You cannot pick up letters on Sundays. If you have any questions about the program please leave a voice mail at 212-330-3000 and your call will be returned as soon as possible.

Monday, Tuesday Wednesday and Friday: 9 - 4:00
Thursday: 9 - 7
Saturday  9 - 4
Third party by appointment in NY area: 212-330-3000

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Please click here to print the Operation Santa Letter - Individual Participant Form

Please click here to print the Operation Santa Letter - Organization Participant Form

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Mailing and Packaging Tips

When answering letters from children this season it is important to remember that you are responsible for all shipping and packaging costs. When sending a package, there are several easy steps that make your package more secure and easier to ship. Wrap all items separately and cushion the contents of the package on all sides, top and bottom with bubble wrap or newspaper. The contents of your shredder also work very well if contained in plastic bags to prevent messes. Seal all packages with strong tape, but do not use string or gift wrap on the shipping box. Close and shake the box before sealing to make sure that you have enough cushioning material.

All packages shipped through the USPS must have a valid return address. If you are concerned about privacy issues, simply address the package from "Santa Claus" with your correct home or business address. If the package does not have a valid return address it will not be delivered to the recipient.

Holiday Shipping and Mailing Guide from the United States Post Office


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More Operation Santa Claus News

Chicago Post Office Expects 10,000 Letters To Santa

Santa Gets Extra Support from Some Unexpected Helpers

Safety checks for some Santa's, while others ring in the season

Dear Santa: Needy Kids Seek Help

Operation Santa Claus

Operation Santa Claus - New York City employees making a difference.

NYC kicks off Operation Santa-Postal Service program puts a holiday shine on the Big Apple.

The Magical Holidays Brought to You by the Postal Service and ABC Family

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus. He's at 33rd and 8th in New York City


Your donations make it possible for Operation Letters To Santa
to answer more letters to needy children
during the Christmas season.

Thank you!