Ways to Connect With Santa in 2020

Find out how to ensure your kids keep believing in the magic and wonder of Santa Claus even in the middle of the coronavirus crisis.

My son is 9 years old and still believes in Santa. In 2020, the year of pandemic, we need him to keep believing. We need him to hold onto that innocence and experience the joys of Santa’s magic. The truth is that I need to believe.

But the inability to bring our sons (we have a 1 year old, too) to see Santa like they normally would and my job of lowering expectations about the events and gifts and celebrations we will have this year could have tragic consequences. It could ruin the whole thing, not just for this year, but for a lifetime.

I know I’m not alone, and I want to do my part to keep the magic of Christmas and Santa alive for us all. So, I started coming up with ideas on how to connect to Santa even in this lousy year. Here is what I found:

Portable North Pole App

With the Portable North Pole app, you can send free personalized videos from Santa. You can even send videos to the teens and grown ups in your life — and they are so much fun. The grown ups can be either naughty or nice.

If you are willing to pay, you can get more elaborate videos for your loved ones. An interactive video that includes photos and your child’s name, interests, and the gift he is asking for costs $6. The phone calls are great, too. Santa can even call your kids on Christmas Eve for about $5. You will rejoice at the sparkle in your child’s eye with either the free or paid for videos.

Now, I am recommending this site because the free messages are fantastic. But I have found that the emails do not always go through, so you might be better off sharing them with your loved ones by having them enter your PNP account.

Also, it took forever for the paid-for video to actually work. I told my son Santa was having technical difficulties. He thought it made sense because Santa’s old and this tech stuff is hard for him. But it was touch and go for a bit there. Still, it’s a great find because the live online experiences with Santa on sites like SantaTheExperience and JingleRing are far too expensive, in the range of upward of $60 for a short online call.

A Letter Exchange With Santa

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has volunteers working for Operation Santa to respond to letters from Santa. But there is no guarantee your kid will receive a response. I tried to volunteer myself recently, and I found no letters. I couldn’t believe it.

But you can write a letter from Santa and leave it in the mailbox for your kid. Use stamps or stickers or graphics to liven it up. Type the letter or use disguised handwriting. Whenever my son’s elves are writing to him, I use my left hand. I’m a rightie. It works like a charm.

Ideally, your child has written to Santa first, and you can use the experience as a chance to practice writing. You can also have your kid write a thank you note to Santa right after Christmas and send a reply. A nice touch would be making it a postcard from wherever Santa has gone on vacation to unwind.

Have the Elves Make Some Magic

My son is super into the Elf on the Shelf backstory. He believes it wholeheartedly and we now have an entire elf family visit us every year. They pull off all sorts of shenanigans.

Today, they are in the kitchen making the Sunday sauce with us. We put a Christmas mailbox that I picked up at the dollar store near one of our advent calendars, so they can communicate with him. The elf family tells him and our 1-year-old to behave and alerted them to their videos from Santa via PNP. A few days ago, they even left the boys a little gift, a book, Fritz the Farting Reindeer, which brought levity to our heavy pandemic life.

Dress Someone in the Family Up as Santa

This might not work for everyone. When our kids were little, either my father or my husband would dress up as Santa and visit on Christmas Eve. When my oldest son was about 4 years old, he wondered aloud about why Santa had his father’s eyes. It freaked him out, and he still brings it up.

So, I don’t recommend this unless you know you can do it without giving up some of the fantasy for the kids. If you can get a neighbor or someone the kids don’t know as well, then that might work best. In that case, however, make sure to have the encounter outside with six feet of distance. Santa, along with everyone else, can wear a mask. As my oldest son says, “It’s coronavirus season, so we all have to mask up.”

Sound the Bells and Pitter-Patter of Reindeer

On Christmas Eve, figure out a plausible way to make the sounds of Santa just outside your home. We use jingle sticks and our own feet sometimes. Normally, a relative who is leaving our Christmas party does the trick for us.

This year, we’ll have to be more creative because no one is coming to our house for the holiday. This is an especially believable and fun way to connect with Santa for the littlest kids. Older kids who are borderline believers might get too many questions or try to sneak outside, especially if they have read any of the books in the “How to Catch…” series. So, beware.

Track Santa on Christmas Eve

This has been a favorite of ours for years, even before we had kids. My cousin’s kids, who are now adults, would be with us on Christmas Eve, so it became a tradition. You can follow Santa’s path delivering gifts around the world via Norad. It’s easy to do and a great way to build anticipation on Christmas Eve.

However you decide to connect with Santa, just make sure you do something to inspire that intangible magic we all so desperately need this season. You have all the power to keep believing.

How will you connect with Santa? Let us know in the comments.

Francesca Di Meglio is a veteran reporter who has worked for Bloomberg Businessweek and Ladies’ Home Journal. Visit francescaandantonio.com for her blog.

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