The holidays are around the corner! Many kids have already written their letters to Santa this year telling the big man what they’re hoping he’ll bring them. The reality, however, is that many kids in America (and all over the world) won’t see all their holiday wishes come true—or even get gifts at all. At Christmastime, low-income families, and especially the kids in them, could use some help. And with COVID-19 impacting everyone in one way or another, the need is even greater this year. Letters addressed to Santa Claus, collected through the Post Office’s “Operation Santa” program, reveal the pandemic is weighing heavily on children. Some are imploring Santa to make the coronavirus go away. Others are asking for masks for Christmas.

RELATED: 7 Face Masks for Kids

With Operation Santa, the U.S. Postal Service is stepping up to help in a big way. It’s compiled a huge database of letters to Santa from kids in low-income families to match with people (“elves”) who want to do some extra good this season. Anyone can sign up for free to “adopt” a letter and, once verified (aka has their identity confirmed by the USPS), give a gift to the letter writer with the USPS’s help. It’s an easy way to make the holidays a little brighter for low-income kids. Here’s how it works for the “elves,” in four steps (straight from the USPS site):

  1. Read: Look through letters and adopt ones you love.
  2. Shop: Find the perfect gift, and keep it anonymous—it’s from Santa, after all.
  3. Wrap: Pack your gifts in a box using [USPS] shipping guidelines.
  4. Ship: Bring the gift and postage to a participating Post Office™ by December 21.

The USPS notes on the Operation Santa website that you can scroll through letters looking for one that speaks to you. You can also answer as many letters, and give as may gifts, as you like. And if you like, you can go in on a gift with a group, as outlined in the FAQ section.

It’s a pretty great idea if you ask me. Kudos to the USPS for getting into the Christmas spirit!

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