Spoiler alert! If your kids can read, do not let them read this. Read this post in secret!
You stay up late wrapping presents in secret and make a show of setting out cookies and milk, but there’s one more thing you can do to prove Santa is real. This year, take the classic letter to Santa to a new level by not only sending it, but making sure your kiddos receive a response from the Jolly Old Elf himself. The USPS has an awesome program in place and if you’ve never done it before, this is your year. Here’s what you need to know:
Step 1: Write the letter!
First things first: write the letter to Santa. Kids that can’t write yet can dictate to parents and spend a little time decorating the letter with stickers or a drawing. If your kiddos are learning their letters, you can always have them trace over some of the words. For kiddos that can write, make sure they have enough paper on hand but try and keep it to one page. Remember, this does not have to be a list of all the things they want for Christmas. They can also just send a letter thanking Santa for his hard work or asking him what his life is like. Be creative!
Have them put their letter in an envelope, addressed to:
Try to avoid sealing this envelope without being too obvious.
Step 2: Write a response to your child.
Okay, here’s the spoiler part! Using your super stealth parenting-in-the-night skills, the same ones that power you to wrap presents and fill stockings undetected, you will need to write out the response from Santa (disguise your writing if you think necessary) and place it in an envelope addressed to your child, with a return address of Santa Claus, North Pole.
Make sure you put a stamp on this envelope: The current rate is 55 cents, or use a Forever stamp.
Tip: USPS suggests writing the response from Santa on the back of your child’s letter to save space and to make sure your kiddo will remember what they wrote (plus this way you get to keep it without giving anything away!).
Step 3: Mail it.
Place everything into a larger envelope (like a Priority Mail Flat Rate or manilla envelope) and make sure there is adequate postage. Flat rate is great because you can buy the postage online and print the label, saving you a trip to the post office.
Remember, in your envelope you will have:
1 letter to Santa in an envelope addressed to Santa
1 response from Santa in an envelope addressed to child with an actual postage stamp (and Santa’s return address)
Address this larger envelope to:
North Pole Postmark
4141 Postmark Dr.
Anchorage, Ak 99530-9998
The rest is up to Santa’s busy elves at the Postal Service.
Important: The USPS recommends having the letters sent no later than Dec. 7 so that they can arrive at the Anchorage, AK office by Dec. 14.
Learn more here.
Good to Know
The USPS also operates Operation Santa, a letter writing program for any kid in need. Children can write to a specific address and make requests. They even have a letter writing kit. To learn more about this program, or to answer letters and donate for kids in need, click here.