Sunday, December 4, 2011
Obtain a letter to Santa written by a child who needs a brighter Christmas!

At 75 postal branches across the US, you can read real letters to Santa from needy kids, take home one or more that move you and send your gifts.

There’s no middle man or charity. It’s micro-philanthropy, direct from you to a child, when you volunteer in this way.

You’ll catch the true spirit of the holidays, and put smiles on the faces of needy kids on Christmas morning.

Stop by a participating postal branch before December 23rd. Come alone, or bring your kids!

Be An Elf is the best resource available to learn how and where to volunteer for the USPS Operation Santa program. You’ll find tips for giftsfor children, a quick link to the USPS National Directory of Operation Santa branches, and plenty more.

Give a Be An Elf party and share the work, the cost and the fun! Ask each friend to bring one or more gifts, and wrap them all at your party. Volunteer Elf Lauren in Brooklyn, NY, gave a Christmas party and asked her friends to bring a gift or contribute, and they wrapped the gifts together. In 2010, Elf Lauren “went big” and got her whole apartment building in Brooklyn involved.

So go get your letters, post this site on Facebook or tweet it, and give a party!

In 2011, the USPS® Operation Santa program is offered at 75 postal branches, often at a single branch in a large city. To find a branch near you where Operation Santa is offered, see the the link to the USPS National Directory on our How to Be An Elf page. If there is no nearby branch, we offer some excellent other ways to be an Elf. Operation Santa was started by the USPS 99 years ago, in 1912, and has never missed a year.

Be An Elf’s mission is simple: to create public awareness of the little-known USPS® Operation Letters to Santa program, to recruit new volunteers, to make more underprivileged children smile on Christmas, and to inspire people with the real spirit of Christmas.

If you can’t volunteer to send gifts to needy children who write to Santa, please donate online to Be An Elf or give by check to support our group’s mission and cause. You may give anonymously online.

Check out our future plans.

Your gift will help recruit more volunteers for the Operation Santa program. Together we can bring joy to children in need on Christmas morning.

Please post this link on your Facebook page or tweet it — or send your friends a message like this sample email.

Please donate online or volunteer to be an elf!

UPDATE TO THE VIDEO: Although our video above notes that there is an Operation Santa post office branch in each American city, that is not the case. The program is offered only in a limited number of cities, mostly large ones. Also, while our video, filmed Christmas Eve, 2007, shows a volunteer delivering gifts to families’ front doors, today that is no longer possible. To better protect children’s privacy, in 2008 the USPS® began removing children’s return addresses from letters and replacing them with a number; volunteers may no longer deliver gifts directly to children’s homes. Instead, they must return to the postal branch where they got the letter, and bring their package wrapped for mailing, with the original letter number and postage on the package. Postal workers take over the Elf job from there, and deliver your gifts to families by Christmas eve.

But the surprise and delight seen on the children’s faces as they receive gifts from volunteers in our YouTube video remains the same, and the Christmas spirit of the volunteers and postal workers reading letters to Santa in the “North Pole” room scene is very much on view in postal branches still offering the program. To start the video above, left-click only once only. If you double-click, you’ll be taken to our YouTube page. News media in need of a high resolution version of our photos or video above will find both on our press resources page.

Be An Elf is not affiliated in any way with the United States Postal Service.®

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