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Operation Santa helps grant holiday wishes to families

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IDAHO FALLS — A 109-year old tradition is coming back to life again this year to help families trying to make ends meet.

Operation Santa is a labor of love that was launched by the United States Postal Service over a century ago. USPS Operation Santa pairs letters from kids with generous families who help fulfill their holiday wishes. According to the USPS website, ‘You can be a part of it — the more letters sent to Santa, the more magic we can deliver.’

Since the program began, hundreds of thousands of less-fortunate children and their families have been helped by the kindness of others.

“The program is open to anyone in the U.S., of any age, any religion/non-religion and you don’t have to believe in Santa,” said Ernie Swanson, a communications specialist with the U.S. Postal Service.

It’s simple to participate. All you have to do is write a letter, put it in an envelope with a stamp and make sure you include your full return address and send it to Santa’s official workshop, which is: Santa Claus 123 Elf Road North Pole, 88888. Click here to see the full instructions on how you can participate.

According to the USPS website, it’s entirely up to the letter writer as to what appears on their wish list but the more specific writers are with sizes, colors, styles, favorite authors, book titles, toys, etc., the better chance their wishes will be granted if their letter gets adopted. Once the letter is received, all personal identifiable information of the letter is removed and uploaded to for adoption. Anyone can look up the letters and choose one to “adopt” and give gifts.

“The program is anonymous for the safety of everyone involved. So no one knows the gift recipients,” said Swanson.

There is no guarantee that all letters submitted to the program will be adopted. Swanson told that last year, more than 24,000 letters were adopted.

Letters must be postmarked by Dec. 10 and will be uploaded to through Dec. 15 for potential adoption.

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Letter written to Santa by a child | Courtesy USPS