Sites to Make Santa Real

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When I was a kid, Santa visited our neighbor’s house every Christmas Eve, at midnight, to deliver presents. He hopped down off the roof with a big red bag and a “ho-ho-ho!” and walked into their living room to the squeals of delight from the waiting children. Every year, we tried hard to stay up until midnight so we could spy Santa through the window, brimming with excitement ourselves. As soon as we saw him go inside the neighbor’s house, we’d rush off to bed so we would be “asleep” when he made it to our house next.

Spoiler alert: it wasn’t really Santa. But to a six-year old me, Uncle Bill in a red suit embodied all my childhood dreams that Santa could be real after all. If you’d like to make some Christmas magic of your own this year, here are some great online resources that can help.

Last year, my hubby orchestrated an elaborate letter writing exchange between Santa and his elves and our kids. The excitement on their faces every time they read their letters instantly brought me back to my spying-on-Santa days. You can get Santa to write back to your kiddos, too. Santa’s Red Letter (www.SantasRedLetter.com) offers a variety of beautiful, customizable letters from Santa. They’re written on Santa’s own stationary, postmarked from The North Pole, sealed with a red wax seal stamped with Santa’s emblem, and personalized with name and gender of your child. Prices start at $9.95 per letter, including free shipping. Parents can choose from templates or compose their own letter. Santa’s Red Letter will also donate $1 of every order letter to Toys for Tots. Orders made before December 5th are guaranteed to arrive before Christmas. Enter “NerdChick” at checkout and receive a 10% discount on all gift purchases made before December 20th.

Whether your child has been naughty or nice this year, ChristmasDialer (www.sendsantacalls.com) can customize a phone call to your child to remind them that Santa’s always watching. The script can be personalized with their name and gender, the gift at the top of their list, and even the state they live in. The call is not interactive, so it may not be best for older children. Schedule your call for receipt today or a date and time of your choosing for $4.95.

Last year around mid-December, Google Voice re-introduced a way for you to send a customized Santa message through their www.SendaCallFromSanta.com. Calls to the US and Canada are free. Simply answer a few questions to personalize the call for your child. At press time, the website was inactive, but it should be up and running around mid-December like last year.

Track Santa’s whereabouts on the special night. The North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) has been tracking Santa’s movements since 1955, and starting December 1st they will begin their official countdown to Santa’s launch at www.noradsanta.org. They track him using Bing Maps and three interactive Smartphone apps for Android, iPhone and Windows phones. NORAD’s Tracks Santa even has a Twitter following, a Facebook page and a YouTube video.

You can also check out Google’s Santa-Tracker at www.google.com/santatracker/. Using Google Maps and Google Earth, their route algorithm charts Santa’s magical journey around the world on Christmas Eve. You can watch the countdown clock starting in mid-December, and get the latest updates on his trip (weather conditions, location, approximate speed of travel, etc.) on the big night. Last year, the website offered a couple games for the little ones like a Santa Racer game and a Present Drop which allowed you to try out dropping presents into moving chimneys. The website is not currently active, but it should be up and running soon!

If your little one is growing skeptical, rekindle the magic with photographic “proof” from I Caught Santa (www.icaughtsanta.com) and catch Santa in the act, right in your own living room. Simply take a digital picture of your Christmas Tree or fireplace and upload your picture to the site. There are a few “Santa poses” to choose from: Santa with a look of surprise, unloading presents under the tree, or coming out of the chimney. Then, superimpose the image over your uploaded background, customizing for size, color and brightness. Presto! “Proof” he was there. After purchasing an image you’ll gain access to a digital copy via email or download. Prices start at $9.99 for a single 4×6, 5×7 or 8×10 photo or upgrade to 4 photos for $9.99 more.

Whether you clomp around on your own roof wearing bells, bake up some special treats for Santa and the reindeer, or use one of the resources mentioned here to make Santa “Real,” bring a little magic to your holiday this season.

About The Author: Andrea Andrea Eldridge is CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, a computer repair company that specializes in on-site and online service for homes and businesses. Andrea is the writer of a weekly column, Nerd Chick Adventures in The Record Searchlight. She prepares TV segments for and appears regularly on CBS, CW and FOX on shows such as Good Day Sacramento, More Good Day Portland, and CBS 13 News, offering viewers technology and lifestyle tips. See Andrea in action at callnerds.com/andrea/.