As a kid, I was always in awe of the magic of Santa (and the Easter bunny, tooth fairy, etc.). Even as an adult, I still enjoy anything otherworldly and magical (I read a lot of Leigh Bardugo, V.E. Schwab, and of course J.K. Rowling!) So, in our family, it gives me great joy to watch my children delight in mystical things, especially Santa!
Of course, every family has to decide their own approach to Santa. Whether your little ones are ‘believer’ or not, whether it ties into your family’s spiritual beliefs, and at what point you choose to continue Santa traditions as your children raise questions. And with all these different directions, there are no wrong answers.
If you do happen to believe in the Jolly Old Elf, I have compiled a list of ways to keep that magic alive this Holiday Season, and hopefully for many more!
Make sure everyone is on board and believes all year long!
Whether it’s during the few weeks leading up to Christmas or any other time of year, kids are always listening. Be sure your loved ones and close friends know that you’re believers, and encourage everyone to participate in your holiday traditions and join in the fun!
Write letters to Santa
Maybe you have a special family mailbox that goes straight to the North Pole (just be sure to empty it over night!). Or maybe you choose to mail your letters snail mail style. Either way, be sure to bring out the extra special stationery and jot down your wish lists for Jolly St. Nick.
Get an Elf on the Shelf
While this is not my personal style, some families love the tradition and the fun it brings. We all know the drill, right?! A cute little elf shows up after Thanksgiving and spends the next few weeks causing all sorts of mischief and reporting back to Santa each night. (Just don’t forget to move that Elf each night!)
Soak up all the Santa stories and movies
From the classics to the new ones that come out each year, the magic of Santa and the holiday season comes alive through storytelling. Read to your kids about the spirit of Christmas, the joy of gift giving, and sharing kindness with others. We love the Polar Express, the Santa Claus Movie series, Noelle, and a boy called Christmas (just out on Netflix this season) and of course the Grinch (the old and new versions).
Pay a special visit to Santa
Go visit Santa and capture some photos of the magic! Check your local area for sightings. Your local mall, tree farm, or Christmas market always have opportunities to visit with the big man. If you want a truly personal and magical experience for your child, book a Santa session with a photographer! (Did you miss my Santa sessions this year? Be sure to sign up for my newsletter to join this magical tradition next year!)
Track Santa’s journey on Christmas Eve
Check in on Santa and his whereabouts before going to sleep on Christmas Eve. A few different sites offer this feature, so be sure to pick one and stick with it each year to avoid any confusion and questions down the line. We always use this one. And for an extra touch of fun, check out the reindeer cam to see what the reindeer are up to!
Leave out treats for Santa and the reindeer
And before you call it a night, don’t forget to leave out some milk and cookies for Santa, along with carrots or oats for the reindeer! Delivering presents to everyone in the world in one night is hard work! Just be sure any treats have been (at least partially) enjoyed before Christmas morning.
Extend the magic into Christmas morning
For some added excitement, think of an extra special surprise for Christmas morning that only Santa would think of – something small on your child’s pillow from Santa, hidden treats hanging on the tree, or even one I remember from my childhood – a scavenger hunt with clues throughout the house that Santa left behind.
For the extra skeptical ones in the group, try leaving Santa’s footprints somewhere in the house.
Think of every detail and cover your tracks!
Hide your presents well, keep shopping tabs closed on your computer, and in general – be smart! When it comes to wrapping, be sure to select a unique paper especially for Santa. And would Santa’s handwriting look like yours? Probably not! Remember that Santa is a man of mystery and we are only acting as one of his elves.
When the magic of Santa needs a little rekindling…
I hope you’ll revisit these holiday tips and traditions to help extend the fun a bit longer. If you’re already in the holiday spirit, I’d love to connect with you to see how we can capture some of those special moments this year.