Every year at Christmas time, children all over the world write letters to Santa telling him what they want for Christmas. According to CNN, Santa receives about 1.7 million letters from France, 1.35 million from Canada, and more than a million from the US. But what happens to those letters? It depends on how the child addresses the letter and what country the letter was sent from.
The United States has two different programs. 1912, the Postmaster started allowing employees to answer letters to Santa. They eventually adopted the name Operation Santa for the program, and today many different post office locations participate in the program, which helps deliver gifts to children in need. People who want to play an elf for the program just have to drop by any post office location and select the letter or letters they want to fulfill. If you don’t have a post office in your area that participates in Operation Santa, you can volunteer to start an operation in your city, or donate to an existing location.
The other program is called Letters to Santa. This program guarantees children will receive a response to their letter, but no presents. Parents mail their children’s letters to the North Pole Postmark Postmaster, along with a self-addressed stamped envelope and the response they want the Postmaster to send to their child. The North Pole Postmark Postmaster returns the letter to the child along with a special postmark from Santa.
Programs in Other Countries
- The UK’s Royal Mail make sure that kids receive a response from Santa.
- Canada’s postal service also makes sure kids receive a response — they even give Santa the postal code H0H 0H0 (that’s an H followed by a zero followed by another H, then a zero followed by an H followed by another zero — how clever!).
- Brazil has a program called Papai de Noel dos Correios, which is similar to Operation Santa in the US.
- France has a special post office dedicated to letters from Santa (Le Pere Noel). French law has guaranteed a response from Santa since 1962.
Those are just a few programs that different countries have for letters to Santa. If you’re interested in finding out more about the different programs, you can do a web search for any one of them to get more details on how your child can send their letter, or how you can participate in these programs.