Shopping for gifts has to be one of the most stressful parts about the holidays. What are you ever supposed to get your dad? I get mine the same collard shirt every year, in a different color. But you know who’s not hard to shop for at all? Kids.
This year, instead of worrying about dad, you can buy for someone who knows what they want and will actually appreciate it, kids. It’s ridiculously easy, all thanks to the USPS program, Operation Santa. ABC 7 Chicago reported on the program, which basically allows you to “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. Beverly Minister reads letters like these every year.
“Dear Santa, my name is David and I’m 3 months old and I’d like toys and clothes for Christmas,” read one letter.
“We may not have a Christmas dinner. The meds cost a lot,” said another.
“These are families that need things right now,” she said.
The kids and their families write them out to “Santa” and then the post office takes over. The chief elf at the Chicago branch this year is a woman named Janice Hall, and she’s the elf in charge of Operation Santa.
“We have tissue as we open the letters because they will make you cry,” Hall said.
The rest of her team of elves goes through the letters, censoring out last names and addresses. Then they’re displayed for all to see.
“Choose a letter, you go out and you buy the gift and we mail it for you,” Hall said.
Thousands of letters pour in from both children and adults all from different walks of life. However, they all seem to be asking for the same thing: a brighter Christmas.
“We get from X-Boxes to just warm pajamas,” Hall said. “Then she lists the children and she lists their sizes, etc.”
You can stop by Chicago’s Old Main Post Office Monday through Saturday 7:30 a.m. To 7 p.m. and on Sundays from 10 a.m. To 5:30 p.m. to adopt a family. Operation Santa runs until December 21, so there’s still time to provide a hot meal or a new winter coat to those in need.