At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

Does Santa Ever Reply to the Letters Sent to the North Pole?

Santa Claus might have one incredibly busy night each year, but considering how many letters he gets, he'd probably have to spend the other 364 days answering them – if not for the United States Postal Service, that is.

Since 1912, the USPS has been doing its best to respond to the thousands of letters that children send to Santa each year. It all started when then-Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock gave local postmasters the go-ahead to open and answer the mail. The success of this initiative compelled the postal service to get the public involved, and beginning in the 1940s, businesses, charities, and regular people were invited to get in on the fun. "Operation Santa" has grown to be much more than just written responses to the letters in Santa's mailbag. Nowadays, anyone can fulfill a child's written wish by sending Christmas gifts to the letter sender. In 2021, 21,275 lucky kids and families got their yuletide wishes granted, with all of the packages appearing to have come from the North Pole.

Going postal:

  • In 1639, the Boston home (and tavern) of a man named Richard Fairbanks became the first official post office in America.

  • Until 1971, the U.S. Postmaster General was a member of the Cabinet and in line to succeed the president.

  • Postage stamps were first produced in 1847 as a result of ongoing problems with a system in which receivers, not senders, had to pay postage.

Discussion Comments


At our local post office, we had a special Santa mailbox in our lobby. It was decided that I would reply to the letters collected there. I had to take my work home as we were not paid to do this. For several years I replied to all those who had return addresses we had so many in that small city that I eventually allowed my children aged 12 and 17 to help answer. (I had to approve of all letters sent out to the children.)

Then we got a new postmaster who refused to allow our Santa mailbox to be set up at Yuletide. But, until I retired, letter carriers would bring me letters left for Santa in mailboxes on their routes.

Letters without return addresses I forwarded to our local paper, which published some of them.

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • In 1912, the United States Postal Service created “Operation Santa” to try to answer the thousands of letters sent to Santa Claus each year.
      By: Subbotina Anna
      In 1912, the United States Postal Service created “Operation Santa” to try to answer the thousands of letters sent to Santa Claus each year.