CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s a time for giving this holiday season and you can make sure a family in need has a Merry Christmas.

The U.S. Postal Service has started its annual Operation Santa program which allows members of the public to answer letters addressed to Santa Claus, the North Pole from children.

According to the USPS, thousands of people come into the Main Post Office in Chicago to answer the letters. “It’s become a holiday tradition for many families, businesses and groups, as they share the spirit of the season to help make some holiday wishes come true for others especially the less fortunate.”

Letters are available from 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. through Thursday, December 20th and until noon on Friday, December 21.

In 2009, the USPS changed the process by redacting all references to the child’s address. The child is given an alphabetical and number to protect their privacy.

People interested in adopting a letter to Santa can go to the  post office, select a letter and when they’re ready to send a gift to the child, they can bring the gift to the post office, along with the original letter and the post office will mail it out. The person is, however, expected to pay for postage and a mailing label.

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