It’s Easy to Fulfill a Needy Child’s Christmas Wish With the Post Office

Seriously. The USPS is getting a lot of things wrong, but they’re getting it right with Operation Santa

Maria Shimizu Christensen
4 min readNov 26, 2021


Photo by Samuel Holt on Unsplash

Back in the days before the internet really took off, people listened to radio stations. Yes, I know they still do, but how many are still sitting by the landline phone waiting to dial in to win a CD or request a song? Anyway.

One year, early into my struggling single motherhood, my best friend sent a request to a local radio station that was looking for people to help during the holidays. My kids weren’t going to get much for Christmas. Their stockings wouldn’t be bare, thanks to the dollar store, but it wouldn’t be the most bountiful of holidays. At all.

My friend, that radio station, and a lot of generous listeners saved Christmas. My friend showed up on my doorstep with a large bag of toys and gift wrap. There were even a few things for me. It hurt my pride a little, but I would (and did) take much larger and heavier punches to the gut for the sake of my kids.

I have never forgotten or taken for granted the generosity of strangers. That’s not the kind of thing you can pay back, so I’ve tried to pay it forward. This year, the U.S. Post Office is making it easy.

Yes, you read that right. I said, the USPS. There are a lot of things wrong right now with the post office, and the mail slowdown is negatively affecting my Etsy shop along with lots and lots of other small businesses. It’s the smallest businesses who are getting hurt the most, but that’s a topic for another time.

In the meantime, what the USPS is getting right is facilitating Operation Santa.

For the last 109 years, children have been writing to Santa, sending their letters in the mail, and getting a response, thanks to postal workers. For the first few decades this happened on a local level, but the postmaster general opened the program up to the general public in the 1940s. In 2017, Santa went online in New York, and in 2019 the program completely…



Maria Shimizu Christensen

Writer. Maker. Featured in Medium’s 2021 list of Stories That Started Conversations. I write about life.