From as early as December 1950, Canadian Forces aircraft have been delivering Christmas supplies to Canadian troops around the world as well as in remote regions of Canada under the unofficial name Operation SANTA CLAUS. In the 1950s these included Canadian military, RCMP, and Department of Transport sites and US Weather Bureau stations in the far north along with remote civilian communities, and the supplies delivered included Christmas trees, food, and mail. Overseas, deliveries were made to Canadian personnel in Europe and, later, those on UN missions, sometimes in conjunction with normal resupply flights but still, given the additional cargo, under the SANTA CLAUS name.

Since 1993, when Montreal-area spouses of deployed personnel put together holiday packages for their loved ones, the name has also been appropriated by the Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency as it has expanded the Montreal model to include Canadian corporations, schools, and private citizens as providers of Christmas parcels including candy, chips, writing paper, and greeting cards. SANTA CLAUS was also used to identify a December 2003 programme sponsored by 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, which saw that unit set up a tent in Winnipeg where children could talk to Santa on the radio and tell him what they wanted.