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5 genius ways to keep the magic of Santa Claus alive for your children

Looking back at the memories of Christmas past often stirs up a desire to recreate the same magic of Santa Claus for your own children. From the time-honored traditions of leaving cookies and milk on an end table (while making sure the kids see the half-eaten cookie and empty glass the next morning) to using wrapping paper that’s different from the rest of the gifts, you might already have plenty of ideas for keeping the magic going.

However, you may have noticed that as your children get older, they grow more skeptical about the existence of the jolly old elf. Therefore, we’ve pitched in to help by compiling these tips to keep the magic of Santa Claus alive — at least for a few more years.

Watch the magic of Santa Claus’ journey

If the United States Air Force has the inside scoop on Santa’s whereabouts on Christmas Eve, then he must be real. Right?

One way to build up the excitement is to check on Santa’s progress through the NORAD Tracks Santa initiative. This program originated with a child’s accidental phone call to CONAD (Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center) in 1955. Colonel Shoup, who took the call, kindly told the little girl that the Air Force would guarantee safe travels for Santa on Christmas Eve. From then on, volunteers participated in the tracking of Santa’s sleigh by relaying his location. NORAD inherited the tradition and now utilizes social media to reveal Santa’s whereabouts. You and your family can log into Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to see when St. Nick is heading your way.

Toy elf sitting in Christmas tree

The Elf on the Shelf

As a parent, who can resist getting almost a month’s worth of “good behavior” starting the day after Thanksgiving? Plus, you’re still contributing to the cause of continuing the magic of Santa Claus during the holiday season. By employing the Elf on the Shelf, the whole family will enjoy the laughs and intrigue when searching for the elf each day as he or she roams about the house, keeping an eye on who’s naughty or nice.

To add to the giggles, you can dress your elf in various costumes to suit a special occasion. Or your elf can play pranks during the season. Even your teenagers will scratch their heads in wonder when they wake up to find the elf playing with their game system beside a bowl of popcorn.

Reindeer food

Get the reindeer involved to achieve the full effect on Christmas morning. The night before, you and your family can leave out some carrots, apples, or oats mixed with glitter or better yet, sparkly sugar sprinkles. The sugar sprinkles might be the safer option for birds.

Also, the carrots or apples are an easy option to scatter in the yard if you don’t have much time to create a mixture. If your children start getting curious about the lack of hoof prints, remind them that Santa and his team have many stops, so they’re in a hurry and they must eat and fly. Regardless of the explanation, you can just imagine their smiles on Christmas morning when they see a “gap” where oats used to be or find carrots with the tips bitten off.

Man in Santa suit looking at laptop

Take a video call from Santa

Effectively continue the magic of Santa Claus by facilitating a video call between him and your children. You have options to choose from: you can visit a website called Video Chat with Santa where you can schedule an appointment for your children to have a live chat, or you can gain more buy-in by showing your kids the “live” video of Santa waiting for calls to come through. (Just remember to click on the “full screen” icon before the kids enter the room.)

Another fun way to chat with Santa is to download the free app known as Video Call Santa. The app features your choice of an American or British Santa and incoming or outgoing calls. Additionally, you can have the video chat recorded and saved to your camera roll. You can also access these recordings using a passcode so you can find out what your children want.

Santa’s footprints

What if Santa accidentally left one of his boots? Or perhaps he forgot to shake off the snow after sliding down the chimney. Your children would not expect to find snowy footprints in the living room or in the entryway (if you don’t have a fireplace). One way to pull this off is to leave a black boot covered with flour by the fireplace or front door. Also, you can dump enough baking soda on the floor to leave a thin layer of artificial snow and a footprint behind. Again, if skeptical questions arise, you can remind the little ones that the snow is magic since it comes from the North Pole near Santa’s workshop. Hence, it doesn’t melt.

While some of these methods for keeping the magic of Santa Claus alive require some late hours on your part, the expressions of joyful surprise and gasps of awe — not to mention the photo ops to share with family and friends — will make it worthwhile. After all, Christmas only comes once a year, and childhood goes by quickly. So, make the most of this special time and share in your children’s sense of wonder.

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