USPS Wants You To Stop Playing Santa

If you’ve been nice this year, what should you do to ensure you get what you want for Christmas? Well, thousands of kids figure, writing a letter to Santa can’t hurt your chances.

This year, kids across the country have written letters to Santa Claus in hopes of him coming through with all the items on their wish-lists. Because of recent action by the United States Postal Service, however, many kids may be sorely disappointed this year.

Every year, the thousands of letters that are addressed to St. Nick at the North Pole are directed to Operation Santa locations in big cities across the country. Anyone with a gift-giving holiday spirit can sift through the letters, find one especially endearing or needy, and respond with a gift for the child on the other end.

Operation Santa: Boxes full of letters for the big man up north
Operation Santa: Boxes full of letters for the big man up north

The Postal Service has been running (and even promoting) this practice for over 100 years, but abruptly stopped the program Wednesday after a postal worker recognized a registered sex offender picking out a letter.

The man claimed he was merely trying to do a good deed, but officials nevertheless retrieved the letter and alerted the family of the child of the privacy breach.

Security and privacy concerns have developed in the last few years, though no specific instances prompted procedural changes. In 2006, upon the realization that it might not be wise to give out the names and addresses of children, the Postal Service began requiring people looking at letters to sign a form and show identification.

Many of the 500,000 would have already been answered in New York alone, but with 3,000 people expected to show up every day, many wishes of video games, dolls and world peace may very well go unanswered this year.

The 10 Most Wanted Christmas Presents

Based on data from Google searches this year, Forbes has determine the most popular items this year for Christmas gifts. It appears that consumers are dreaming of electronics this year. Nine of the top 10 most wanted gifts are gadgets, from music players (3) to video games and consoles (4) to digital photography toys (2), Americans have seriously gone digital.

Ugg Boots are the only non-gadget to make the list, as it appears they have come back the forefront of pop-fashion after a brief hiatus.

So what are the lessons learned? If you’re not desperately suffering in this tanking economy, your friends and relatives are probably hoping you get them one of the following:

  • Nintendo Wii: If you can get your hands on one, the remote-controlled Wii is good, clean fun.
  • Wii Fit: The most popular game for Nintendo Wii, featuring fitness activies like yoga and aerobics
  • iPod Touch: Like the iPod, but with Internet access where you don’t have to for a data plan
  • iPod Nano: Smaller and cheaper, and without the Internet connection
  • Xbox 360: With this year’s hot gaming console, you can play other people from around the world in real time
  • Nintendo DS: This handheld video game system has great color graphics and a 6-hour battery life
  • Ugg Boots: Whether or not you think they are high fashion, they are one of the most searched gifts for the year
  • Nikon D90: A 12.9 mexapixel digital camera, this Nikon is the only camera in the top 10
  • Zune: The Microsoft version of the iPod has a big hard drive and an FM tuner
  • Digital Picture Frame: Preserve your memories forever by framing your digital photos into a moving slideshow
The Nintendo Wii is the most searched-for gift this Christmas
The Nintendo Wii is the most searched-for gift this Christmas

USPS Christmas Deadline Is Saturday

No one wants to get their Christmas gift on Boxing Day. To be shut out on Christmas only to receive your gift the next day. Everybody wants to get their Christmas gifts on Christmas morning, and with a few tips, you can make sure that your holiday mail is getting to where you need it to go.

The USPS has limited capacity to ship your gifts at the last minute to get your gifts shipped on time this holiday season. Though retailers may have different dates depending on how long it takes them to get something out in the mail, the United States Postal Service does have its own guidelines and deadlines for getting your mail out for it to arrive on time for Christmas.

Monday, December is projected to be the busiest mailing day of the year. The deadline for getting First Class and Priority Mail out in time for Christmas Eve delivery is December 20, which is this Saturday. To ensure some wiggle room in the delivery time, is it recommended to get packages and letters in as early as possible.

USPS Christmas Schedule and Deadlines
USPS Christmas Schedule and Deadlines

If you find yourself cutting it close to these deadlines, you may want to try switching to FedEx or UPS for overnight delivery. They do not deliver on Christmas day, so the last day to ship would be December 23 if you used overnight shipping.

Though sending holiday mail greatly increases the volume of mail that the USPS has to deliver, there are many people that do not want to receive mail during the holidays.

For people heading out of town for the holidays or for other people who will be unable to check their mail, the USPS offers the option to have mail held while they are out of town. Requests to have mail held can be processed through the USPS Hold Mail Service site.