The magic of Santa doesn't last forever but if, like me, you're a parent of young kids, help make some Santa Claus memories that last a lifetime.
If you're looking for ways to inspire your kids (or yourself!) this Christmas, don't miss the chance to play up the big visit from the old guy in the red velvet suit!
Here are some of my favourite ways to keep the magic of Santa alive this year:
1. Letters To Santa
If your kids are writing a letter to Santa, encourage them to ask him about his year, to really make reiterate they're talking to another, real person! (It never hurts to be polite to Santa, right?!)
Australia Post's Santa Mail program is bringing dreams to life again this year by delivering letters to Santa, so be sure to address your envelope to:
And write your name and address on the back. Don't forget to place a 70c stamp on the front of the envelope. Get in quick, because Mrs. Clause is only committed to emptying the mailbox until December 14, so mail get it in the post by then!
2. Reindeer Tracks
It turns out, there's a silver lining to having dirt patches on your lawn this time of year! At my place last year, the dirt showed up so many hoof and sleigh marks we could see exactly where the reindeer and Santa took off and landed! (Fancy that!) The kids loved it! (Dad, not so much…) But if you've got a patch of dirt or sand in your garden, be sure to look out for clues of a special visit on Christmas morning.
3. Secret Keys and Clues
I remember as a small child without a chimney in our home that I could never quite work out how Santa got into the house. If you don't have a chimney in your home, have some fun leaving a key for Santa. Make sure you label it so he knows it's for him, and get crafty with lots of glitter and colours to decorate the tag.
Also, to really make it fun, I remember finding a snag of cotton-wool type stuff on our front door frame. Apparently, Santa was in such a rush, he fled out the door catching his beard on the way!
4. Santa Tracker
For kids who just can’t wait to know what’s going on with the sleigh situation, the Santa Tracker is the perfect way to see where Santa is the night before Christmas. Throughout December, kids can also log on to watch his path, learn more about the destinations and take part in Christmas themed activities before the big night.
5. The Santa Swap
Take a load off Santa by asking the kids to choose some of their better, less-used toys and leave them under your tree. This is a way for Santa to pick up some extra goodies to take to kids at his next destination! It's a great way to help out kids in-need, not to mention recycle, as well as keep a kid's mind on the true Christmas spirit.
6. DIY Countdown
I tend to eschew the supermarket variety of advent calendar, but there's no doubt kids love the idea of counting down. So, instead of buying an advent calendar, you can make one! Old, festively-painted egg cartons attached together are one great idea, and in each you can put a little Christmas note, like a nice deed to do that day, or even a few loose coins. By Christmas, they’ve either achieved a lot of tiny good deeds or saved enough to buy someone a gift – or donate the money to charity.
7. Fuel the Fantasy
Santa does get hungry on those long journeys, so ensure you leave out some fruit, a cookie, a glass of milk or even a homemade treat.
8. Santa Selfie
Did you knwo Santa loves taking selfies?! Well, he does, but sadly he's not very good at it. Sometimes, he gets bowled over by reindeers or interrupted by a little elf, but when you receive a photo that Santa took – maybe a peek of his suit or even some out-of-focus presents – you’ll know he's getting ready for Christmas! Sometimes, it looks just like a super-fuzzy image of lots of wrapping paper, ribbons and glitter - but at least he's trying!