For generations, writing a letter to Santa Claus has been a tradition during the holidays. And for some kind-hearted folks, answering those letters has also been a holiday custom for the past century.
Back in 1912, Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock first authorized postal employees and local citizens to respond to the many letters written to Santa. The letters to Santa adoption program became known as Operation Santa.
Even in this day of electronic communications, handwritten letters containing dreams and wishes still arrive at the Post Office this time of year addressed to Santa Claus. Although current privacy and security regulations prevent personal information contained in the letters (such as a last name and address) being provided to the public, the program still operates in many locations with the Postal Service stepping in as middle man.
Businesses and corporations, charitable groups and individual citizens can adopt letters from children or families who may need some extra help this year. Personal information in the letters is redacted by postal staff and those who answer letters make a return trip to the Post Office to mail the gift and pay the postage. Postal Service staff will apply the name and address and get it delivered.
Those interested in answering a letter written to Santa can visit one of the Operation Santa locations in the greater Los Angeles area listed below by ZIP Code, only on Dec. 6, 8, 13 and 15 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Zip Codes: 910-916: Sierra Coastal District Office, 28201 Franklin Pkwy. Gate 2, Santa Clarita, 661-775-6731.
Photo identification must be presented to adopt a letter. Participants will be provided a copy of the Santa letter of their choice, which is coded and has had personal information removed. When they return to mail a card or gift package, the Postal Service will match the coded photocopy Santa letter with the original and apply the name and address to the item.