All of those fond memories of past Christmases come flooding back when you have little ones. It’s finally your turn to give Santa a hand in creating a special Christmas for your children. In today’s digital age, though, keeping that magic of Santa Claus alive gets harder and harder. Once kids start going to school, they always run into those naysayers who are all too quick to share why it’s impossible for Santa to get all around the world in one night to deliver presents.
Then there are all those toy drives and collections during the holiday season, leaving kids to wonder why we need to donate presents if Santa brings them. Of course, not everyone celebrates Christmas, which also makes children wonder about the existence of Santa. Of course, as Linus teaches Charlie Brown and the gang, there is another reason for the season, but the magic of Santa Claus remains a bit part. So, as parents, how to we keep that magic alive for as long as we can?
Remember that Christmas Eve excitement when you were a kid? You couldn’t wait to go to bed because Santa would come sooner. Did you lay away listening for reindeer hooves on the roof? These fond memories are the reason why you want to keep the belief in Santa burning and here are some simple ways to create some Santa magic on Christmas morning.
Use different wrapping paper
This is a super easy way to spread some of that Santa magic. Keep different wrapping paper for the gifts under the tree from Santa.
Use different tags
Just like the wrapping paper isn’t the same, buy gift tags that are for Santa gifts only.
Change up your handwriting
When you’re writing out the Santa gift tags, try to make your handwriting look different.
Use another color marker
When you write the names on the gift tags, don’t use the same color for the gifts Santa is bringing.
Get a Santa key
One of the main questions kids often have about Santa is how he gets in, especially if you don’t have a chimney. Get a Santa key and only take it out after Thanksgiving. Put the key on the front porch in a special spot that only Santa knows about on Christmas Eve. Once the gifts are all set around the tree, put the Santa key on the kitchen table, where the kids are sure to find it in the morning.
Milk and cookies
The kiddos leave out a plate of cookies and some milk every year. Well, don’t forget to eat a cookie and leave one behind with a big bite and a half-empty glass of milk for the kids to see in the morning.
For as much as technology and social media can take away the excitement surrounding Santa Claus, there are some apps that can actually help the allure. When the kids start to doubt whether the jolly old elf is real, pull out these helpful online tricks.
Watch the magic of Santa’s journey in real time
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 uses social media to reveal Santa’s whereabouts. You and your family log into Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to see when St. Nick is heading your way. If the United States Air Force has the inside scoop on Santa’s whereabouts on Christmas Eve, then he must be real! NORAD starts tracking Santa on December 1.
Take a video call from Santa
Continue the magic of Santa Claus by facilitating a video call between him and your children. There are some great options out there. Visit a website called Video Chat with Santa to schedule an appointment for your children to have a live chat or create more of a 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, have the video chat recorded and saved to your camera roll. The best part is you’ll have access to these recordings using a passcode so you can find out what your children told Santa they want for Christmas. That is a win every parent could use.
In case you need a bit of inspiration when it comes to the allure of Santa’s magic during the holiday season, don’t forget the very famous response to a Letter to the Editor sent by eight-year-old Virginia to the New York Sun in 1897. Reading it to the kids or watching the movie are both great ways to rekindle the spirit of Santa Claus as are these other holiday traditions.
The Elf on the Shelf
By employing the Elf on the Shelf, the whole family will enjoy the laughs and intrigue when searching for the elf each day as they roam about the house, keeping an eye on who’s naughty or nice. To add to the giggles, dress your elf in various costumes and themes. Or have your elf 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 sitting beside a bowl of popcorn. If there are two adults in the house, take turns so everyone gets a chance to be surprised in the morning as to what shenanigans that little elf got up to.
Get the reindeer involved to achieve the full effect on Christmas morning. The night before, you and your family will leave out carrots, apples, or oats mixed with sparkly sugar sprinkles. Skip the glitter as it’s not good for the environment or your sanity.
Carrots and apples are an easy option too to scatter in the yard if you don’t have 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 might eat on the go, like when you have to go to the drive-thru. Regardless of the explanation, 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.
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 wouldn’t expect to find snowy footprints in the living room or in the entryway. One way to pull this off is to leave a black boot covered with flour by the fireplace or front door.
You could also dump enough baking soda on the floor to leave a thin layer of artificial snow with a footprint behind. If skeptical questions arise, remind the little ones that North Pole snow from Santa’s workshop is magical, so it doesn’t melt like regular snow.
While some of these methods for keeping the magic of Santa Claus alive will 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 — make it worthwhile. Plus, parents never sleep the month of December, anyway. Christmas only comes once a year, and childhood goes by quickly. Make the most of this special holiday time and share in your children’s sense of Christmas wonder for as long as they’ll let you. Keeping the magic of Santa Claus alive for the kids helps keep the spirit alive for you too.
- 5 wonderful family traditions you should start this year
- Baby’s first Christmas: How to commemorate and celebrate with your new addition
- The best Halloween costumes for a family of 4 that are simple to find or create
- Should your kids have an Apple Watch?
- 7 fun 4th of July games the whole family can play