Shopping for gifts has to be one of the most stressful parts about the holidays. What are you ever supposed to get your dad? How do you balance making the holidays memorable for your kid and not spoiling her? What’s a suitable gift for the boyfriend you’re planning to break up with in the new year?
What if, this year, you quit focusing your efforts on shopping for friends, fam, frenemies, etc., and instead buy for someone who knows what they want and will actually appreciate it?
With USPS Operation Santa, you can “adopt” a letter to Santa and answer a wish list for a family or kid in need. It’s straight forward, you don’t have to think about what to get, and as Santa’s anonymous helper, you’re taking yourself out of the equation. (Just don’t blow the cover like Liz Lemon.)
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Here’s how it works: Visit delivercheer.com, where you can peruse handwritten letters to Santa from kids and families. Select the letter that you want to adopt and USPS will email it to you along with a letter ID. You can decide to purchase some or all of the gifts on the wish list, or simply write a response — signed "Santa," or course. You can adopt the letters as an individual or act as an official Santa ambassador and organize group adoptions, say, as a team of friends or colleagues.
When you're ready, bring your stamped and addressed letter and/or package of gifts, labeled with your letter ID on the top left, along with a completed adopter form, photo ID and address to your local participating post office (search here for a list of participating p.o.'s and to check the adoption deadlines, which differ in each city).
If you or someone you know wants to write a letter to Santa, that's an option, too. The USPS estimates that they receive a million every year. Just write your letter and address it to Santa Claus or USPS Operation Santa, along with the city, state and zip code of your participating post office and mail it off.
You can also donate to Metro's annual holiday toy drive — find info here.
Where to make drop-offs for Operation Santa, by city:
If you're in NYC
James A. Farley Post Office™ Building
Near the 33rd St. Entrance
421 8th Ave. New York, NY 10001
Elf in Charge: Gail Branham
Adopt by Dec. 22
If you're in Philly
Philadelphia Main Post Office
3000 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19104
Elf in charge: Bobby Mack
Last day to adopt: Dec. 8
If you're in Boston
Greater Boston District
25 Dorchester Ave.
Boston, Mass., 02205
Elf in charge: Fran Griffith
Adopt by Dec. 17
Visit delivercheer.com for more information.