Photo: Guschenkova (Shutterstock) This year, for the first time, the USPS’s Operation Santa program is both virtual and nationwide. That means more kids can write in asking for clothing, shoes and toys, and more “adopters” can make those Christmas wishes come true.

The United States Postal Service’s Operation Santa is more than 100 years old, but until now, it’s largely been a local program. It has expanded in recent years to allow for potential “Santas” in some cities to peruse letters online, but for most of its history, a Santa would visit their post office in person, page through the letters and choose one (or more) to adopt. Then they would shop, wrap, sign Santa’s name and ship it out to the letter-writer.

This year, all letters received before Dec. 15 will be uploaded to the Operation Santa website and made available for adoption—although the USPS urges families to send the letters in ASAP for the best chance to have yours adopted.

Starting on Dec. 4, customers can begin reviewing this year’s letters. Until then, to get you in the holiday spirit, you can read a collection of letters from previous years.

If your child wants to write a letter, follow these directions from the USPS: 1. Santa’s mailing address should be placed in the middle of the envelope. Letters can be addressed simply to SANTA CLAUS, but we prefer his official Postal Service address:

NORTH POLE 888882. Write your full name and address in the upper left corner.3. Then, apply […]