For decades upon decades, numerous teams of volunteers at the Postal Service‘s Operation Santa have answered “Dear Santa” letters from children. Many post offices across America not only answered the letters but also had their volunteers deliver the letters (even gifts, at times) in person to the kids’ homes. Even this ancient blogger, on Christmas Eve 1958 when he was 4 years old, received a Santa hand-delivered letter and trinket at his apartment door. As I remember it (or, most likely, was told), Santa appeared to have had a little too much eggnog…in other words, he was apparently boozified.
Among its list of benevolent volunteers, it was discovered that a convicted sex offender was unwittingly employed as a staff member. After a brief suspension of activity, while this person (and, presumably, any other threat) was weeded out, Operation Santa resumed its mailings. Postal workers are now blocking any personal information from volunteers, substituting codes, and face-to-face meetings with children will almost certainly never again occur.
A post office spokesman says “The spirit of giving is still there, but times change.” Indeed they do. In this day and age of cyberspace living, it’s only a matter of time before Operation Santa will become just another feature of virtual reality.
- Operation Santa aims to make Christmas wishes come true (cltv.com)
- Operation Santa aims to make Christmas wishes come true (wgntv.com)
- Post Office’s ‘Operation Santa’ needs your help (wcvb.com)