Let’s hope the longstanding tradition of handwritten children’s letters to Santa Claus doesn’t disappear.

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) needs the business...in order for its “Operation Santa” enterprise to have maximum impact.

Although there’s been a marked decline in the amount of school classroom time devoted to learning cursive writing, it’s perfectly OK with Santa for children to print their letters or produce their wish list documents using a keyboard.

Please spare Santa and his elves the agony of decoding digital messages. Operation Santa needs the “hard copy.”

Frank Harris Hitchcock officially launched Operation Santa in 1912, when he was serving as U.S. Postmaster General, appointed by President William Howard Taft.

Hitchcock directed local postmasters to open letters to Santa and allow postal employees to read and respond.

Newspaper publishers had railed on the postmasters general who preceded Hitchcock, for they had largely deemed letters to Santa as “undeliverable,” dumping them into the dreaded DLOs (Dead Letter Offices) where they were often burned to a crisp.

Nowadays, the USPS has replaced the DLOs with a kinder and gentler MRC (Mail Recovery Center), a facility in Atlanta that functions more like a “lost and found” department.

Holly, who is the USPS Christmas elf and liaison to Santa Claus, said: “The mission of today’s Operation Santa is to “encourage individuals, groups and organizations to ‘adopt a letter’ and help a child or family have a happy holiday when they otherwise might not.”

Operation Santa posts the letters online that it receives from kids who need a boost. All the details for parents and for volunteers who want to participate as super-elves are contained on the USPS Operation Santa website at uspsoperationsanta.com.

Look for the instructional video, starring Holly. She said the deadline for children to mail their letters to Santa this year is Dec. 10.

Letters will be available for adoption from Nov. 29 through Dec. 22.

Santa has his own zip code. It’s 88888. Address your envelope to Santa at 123 Elf Road, North Pole 88888.

“Last year was a difficult year for many families,” Holly reported. “Some lost loved ones to COVID-19. Others struggled to pay their bills. And many suffered loneliness and despair, being stuck in their homes.”

She said the USPS was unsure if people would be willing and able to help others, but “we were overjoyed by the number of people who wanted to participate and adopt letters. The generosity of people all around the world truly humbled us. So many people reached out and asked how they could help.”

“Joshua wrote to Santa and thanked him for sacrificing his social life to help others,” Holly said. “He also told Santa, ‘If I have to choose a gift, it would be a donation to a charity, a homeless shelter, a public library, anything is fine. Because what’s a better gift than peace and joy on earth?’”

“In a similar letter, Isabella asked Santa for a big favor: ‘I wish you can give toys to the kids in the hospital, and the ones who live on the streets.’”

The team as BestLifeOnline.com has assembled its own collection of “best letters” to Santa.

“My name is Ella and I am 9. I have a question to ask you. What happens if you get sick on Christmas eve? Would you have a backup Santa if that happened?”

Sarah had a special request: “Please leave before 6 a.m. My alarm goes off at 6. P.S.: My stocking is on the left.”

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