It's that most wonderful time of the year again, and for families who celebrate Christmas, the kids are probably already counting down the days until Santa brings presents to those on his nice list. Before he can do that, though, he has to know what your kids want. Back in prehistoric times, we used to write to Santa with a pen and paper and send it through this thing we called the postal service (remember that?). Now with the Internet, there's all kinds of ways for your kid to talk to the big man in red that don't involve waiting for hours in a line at an overcrowded shopping mall.
Here are a few: (SPOILER ALERT! This next section is for parents' eyes only!)
There are a bunch of apps that let you arrange for Santa to call your phone with a pre-recorded message. Santa won't be able to respond to your kid's questions, but they'll most likely be too excited to notice. A Call from Santa! is the most popular of these apps. It's easy to use, and you can pay to unlock personalization features so Santa can call your kid by name and mention some of their interests.
You can also choose the reason for Santa's call, so he can tell your kids all kinds of things, like encouraging them to brush their teeth or congratulating them on their good behaviour. The app also has a new texting feature that lets your kids talk to a Santabot via text message (don't worry, the calls and texts are free). The app is available for both iOS and Android.
What kid wouldn't love a personalized video message from Santa? Portable North Pole has multiple video options to choose from—you can even upload pictures of your child and have Santa show off a book filled with them. Your kids will love seeing Santa working up at the North Pole with his elves in these cute and colourful videos—and you'll love watching your kid's face light up when Santa says her name.
Using a site like Santa 1 on 1, you can schedule a call and gather the family around the phone to talk to Santa when the time comes. Rates depend on the time of the year (it get pricier closer to the big day). You can also arrange this for free—just ask a friend (preferably one with a jolly Santa voice and some decent improv skills) to set aside some time to call your family and pretend to be Santa.
Just like buying a live Santa phone call, you can buy a live video chat with the big guy. It'll come at a higher price, but having your kids see Santa's face while talking to him may be worth the extra cost to keep the magic alive. TalktoSanta.com even has the option to do a group call, so your kids can share the magic with their friends or family in other cities. A group call can also bring the cost down if you split it among the parents involved.
There's always the good old pen and paper method. If you're in Canada, send your kid's letter through Canada Post with a return address by Dec. 14, and Santa's special postal elves will send you back a reply. Make sure to label the envelope with Santa's address:
SANTA CLAUS NORTH POLE H0H 0H0 CANADA
Tip: For extra proof of Santa's magic, try Catchy, an app that lets you put Santa right into your pictures. Simply take a pic of your living room and use the app to make it look like Santa is right there in your house! You'll have to get creative to make it look super real, but with a few filters and creative angles, you can squeeze another year of magic from even the most skeptical kids. The Catchy app is available for iOS and Android.