For children, a letter from Santa Claus can add to the magic of the holiday season. Many countries set up special facilities to handle the enormous number of letters addressed to the North Pole — and as in previous years, Santa is taking appropriate steps to make sure that every child is included in the festivities. That includes accommodations for children with blindness and low vision, and numerous organizations are working together to help Santa respond to letters in Braille and large print.
Parents should note that Santa’s helpers are exceptionally busy this year, and they need as much time as possible to send responses. We’ve detailed the deadlines for postal mail and email replies below.
RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) (UK)
Submit requests for postal mail replies by Tuesday, December 1, 2020, or Monday, December 21, 2020 for email replies
The RNIB has helped make Christmases more open and accessible by helping Santa reply to children in their preferred reading format, including contracted and uncontracted Braille, large print, audio CD, and large-font email. The institute has aided Kris Kringle for more than 20 years, and children from any country can submit a request.
When sending letters via post, parents and guardians should ensure that letters include kids' first and last names. While the organization does not charge for letters from Santa, parents may make donations to help support the RNIB’s holiday accessibility initiatives. The institute also transcribes sheet music and provides free talking books to children with sight loss.
National Federation of the Blind
Submit requests between November 9, 2020 and December 16, 2020
For more than 10 years, the National Federation of the Blind have served as “honorary elves,” helping Santa send Braille letters to children who are 10 years or younger in the United States. Santa’s replies include a print letter so that others who do not read Braille can follow along.
Parents and guardians should fill out the NFB’s “Request a Santa Letter" form on the organization’s website. Participants are encouraged to share their stories of how the NFB’s Santa Letters program has impacted children. Donations are also encouraged, but the program is free.
Submit requests for postal mail replies by Thursday, December 10, 2020
Canada’s postal elves help Santa answer letters in more than 30 languages, including Braille. Letters can be addressed to:
When mailing within Canada, letters do not need stamps. The Canada Post accepts letters from children in all countries, and the organization’s website offers downloadable letter templates for younger and older children.
While the Canada Post requests that parents and guardians send letters by December 10, sooner is better — the Post cannot guarantee delivery times outside of Canada.
Submit requests by Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Santa’s helpers at BrailleWorks offer free replies in Braille for children residing in the United States. As the company’s website states: "Everyone can feel the spirit of Christmas and sometimes, it takes more than seeing to believe."
Responses from Santa are free, and BrailleWorks offers simple forms for parents/guardians and teachers to make the process easy. While the cut-off for the service is December 16, postal delivery times vary, and participants are encouraged to send requests as soon as possible. The BrailleWorks website also features sample letters.
New Zealand Post
Submit requests for postal mail by Monday, November 30, 2020
Children in New Zealand can request non-personalized mail responses in Braille. Parents can email email@example.com with "Braille" in the subject line, along with the child’s first name, last name, and postal address.
How adults can help Santa
These resources help to ensure that all children have opportunities to participate in the holidays. For adults, we have one more recommendation: USPS Operation Santa is an initiative to answer kids' letters and help Santa provide gifts and correspondence to families in need.
Adults "adopt" letters from children in 15 cities and help to make holiday wishes come true — sometimes including notes from Santa himself. While Operation Santa isn’t specifically geared towards the goals of accessibility, many kids with disabilities submit letters to the program; adults can sign up to help on the USPS Operation Santa website.
And of course, adults can help the organizations above continue their work by making donations. The holiday season is a great time to support accessibility — and to ensure that you’ll end up on this year’s Good List.