Letters to Santa stay in the area where they were mailed, unless the envelope lists a specific address, according to the U.S. Postal Service. Volunteers sort through and respond to the letters.
Letters that express an extreme need are separated for further consideration, according to the USPS. The USPS gives the letters to volunteers who participate in the letter-adoption program. All identifying information is withheld from the letter. A volunteer purchases a gift, then returns it to the local post office and pays to ship the item to the letter writer. New York City is the one exception to the Santa-letter policy. The city operates its own program to respond to the annual letters.