'Operation Santa' Helps Make Holiday Wishes Come True. Here's How to Mail a Wish List or Help Families in Need

Santa reading from a stack of letters.

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Operation Santa assists families in need and gives everyday people a chance to help others during the holiday season.


Key points

  • The holidays can be a stressful time for many families due to financial worries.
  • Operation Santa can help families lessen the financial burden of the holidays and makes it easier for everyday people to assist families in need.

The holidays can be expensive. Planning holiday meals and buying gifts can make an already difficult financial situation more overwhelming. But some programs can reduce the financial burden of the holidays. The USPS hosts Operation Santa each year to help make holiday wishes come true. Children can mail a letter and wish list to Santa, and everyday people can make a difference by sponsoring a family. Whether you need help getting gifts under the tree or hope to assist families in need, you can participate in this program.

For many parents, the holiday season can be stressful. If they're struggling financially, it can feel impossible to afford gifts while paying regular monthly expenses. Unexpected costs come up throughout the year, and things don't always go as planned. If you're struggling this holiday season, you're not alone, and it's okay to ask for help.

The USPS wants to make the holiday season less difficult for families. Their Operation Santa program pairs families in need with everyday helpers who can make a difference.

Here's how Operation Santa works

Families who need extra assistance making their holiday wishes a reality can have their kids mail a letter to Santa. In their letter, they can include their wish list items. Don't forget a stamp and a return address. Mail the letter to Santa at the following address:

123 Elf Road
North Pole, 88888

Letters must be postmarked on or before Dec. 10, 2021. Once the letters are sorted, they will be uploaded to the Operation Santa website for helpers to adopt. No matter what holiday you celebrate, you can join in the fun. Not all families will get adopted, but many will.

People who want to make a difference by giving gifts can read through letters and adopt one or more families. You choose which families you want to help. Once you adopt a family, you'll shop for and pack up the items on the list and then ship them to your adoptees. You'll need to mail the gifts by Dec. 18, 2021.

Are you ready to make a difference? Letters will begin to be uploaded and will be available for adoption starting Nov. 29, 2021.

Santa can only do so much all by himself. This program can help families make the holiday season brighter, and it also gives everyday people a chance to make a difference and help a family in need. If you're interested, you can learn more about the Operation Santa program.

Helpful tips to save on holiday meals

Gifts aren't the only cost that can add up. Planning a holiday meal can also be expensive. But there are some ways to lessen the expense without having to skip a special holiday meal. Here are some tips that can help you spend less:

  • Shop at discount grocery stores. The bigger-name grocery stores may be more common in your area, but they typically have higher prices. Check to see if there are discount grocery stores in your community. These stores provide many of the same items at a much lower price. You'll be able to get more food with your money.
  • Check the sales flyers. During the holiday season, many popular ingredients are on sale. Be sure to check the sales flyers for the stores in your area to find ways to save. If you shop without first looking to see what's on sale, you'll likely spend more money than necessary.
  • Use cash back apps. You can earn cash back on your spending. There are many cash back apps to choose from, and they're easy to use. As you continue to shop, your cash back earnings will accumulate, and you can cash them out for future purchases.
  • Don't ignore community resources. There are likely resources in your community that can help ease the financial burden. Some organizations give out free turkeys or hams or offer ingredients needed to make side dishes. Some organizations even provide full meals to families. There is nothing wrong with accepting help.
  • Create your own traditions. You don't have to prepare the same holiday meal as everyone else. It can be fun and exciting to create family traditions. Plus, doing so may save you some money. As you begin to plan your holiday meals, don't be afraid to try something new.

The holiday season is an exciting time. Don't let financial worries keep you from having fun with your loved ones. If you'd like to learn more tips, check out our personal finances resources.

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