This is the year we're all going to need a little more Christmas magic to keep our spirits alive.
With shorter daylight and colder months, it's already hard to adjust to the conditions. Those Hallmark movie marathons are working hard to keep us going. But fear not, even with smaller groups, fewer events, hunkering down and staying home, there are plenty of ways to keep the Christmas magic alive for everyone, and create a very merry Christmas.
Show your kids proof that Santa was in their home with Catch A Character — an app that allows parents to create free photos using images of their own home, along with stock images of Santa Claus. Santa can be shown placing presents beneath the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve, checking his list, or even looking shocked to be caught on camera. To help parents keep holiday magic going year-round, the app also offers similar photos of the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.
Parents who download the Magic from Santa app get unlimited personalized calls from Santa and can surprise their child with video messages straight from the North Pole. Kids can also leave Santa special voicemail messages or hold a text conversation with him. "Speak to Santa" and "Portable North Pole" are also great apps you can check out for realistic and customizable messages. With lots of these apps, you can customize information like your child's name, their age, and some of their favorite things.
In 1955, a little girl accidentally called the unlisted number for the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, believing she was calling Santa Claus after seeing a promotion in a local newspaper. The commander on duty that night and assured the youngster that CONAD would guarantee Santa a safe journey from the North Pole. Thus a tradition was born that rolled over to NORAD when it was formed in 1958. Each year since then, NORAD has dutifully reported Santa's location on Dec. 24 to millions across the globe. Be sure to follow their website, or check it out on Facebook or Instagram! There are also plenty of similar apps like "Santa Tracker" that provide top-notch tracking.
Okay, this one has been popular for a while. But I really think this could be the year for this little character. With so much extra time at home, your elf will surely have some extra time in the evenings to brainstorm some mischief and mayhem to get into. Check out our fun ideas for Elf on the Shelf!
With all the attention Santa gets, don't forget about his hoofed companions! You can go the sweet tooth route, with Chex, M&Ms, pretzels, peanut butter, chocolate, and powdered sugar or you could go the health-conscious and perhaps more realistic approach with big carrots or oats mixed with edible glitter.
You'll find yourself hoping that the reindeer don't eat it all, because you'll definitely want some of this sweet treat!
red and green candy-coated milk chocolate pieces
toasted O's cereal
crispy corn or rice cereal squares
salted dry-roasted peanuts
solid vegetable shortening
Cover a large area of counter space with waxed paper and tape it down.
Mix pretzels, cereal squares, cereal O's, peanuts, and candy-coated milk chocolate pieces together in a large bowl.
Melt white chocolate and shortening in the top of a double boiler over simmering water, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides to avoid burning.
Pour melted white chocolate over pretzel mixture. Stir to evenly coat. Quickly transfer mixture to the waxed paper and spread in a thin layer. Let it completely cool, then break into sections.
When I worked in a preschool, we would always find Santa's boot print stenciled onto the ground. With a light coat of confectioner's sugar as the "snow" that looks like snow that's dropped off his boots (or maybe soot from the fireplace). You can also make tiny little footprints for Santa's helpful little elves!
Okay, I know we're in the tech age, but when I was little, Santa called me on the phone a few days before Christmas and it was the reason I believed for a long time. All it takes is a quick change of the contact name, a little help from a family friend, and you've got an unforgettable memory. There are plenty of services you can purchase to receive a personalized message from Santa, but if you've got a family friend with a deep voice who's up to it, why not?
Do you remember that scene in Elf when Buddy's New York City family woke up and he'd turned the house into a Winter Wonderland? It was complete with paper snowflakes, a homemade rocking horse, and dangling utensils (This is one of my favorite details. The idea that Buddy the Elf was looking for something shiny and decided dangling forks and spoons from the ceiling with fishing wire was festive? Brilliant. Watch for it during the dinner table scene). While you don't have to hang utensils from the ceiling, stepping up your decorating game can be a great way to keep the spirit alive. Decorate at night after the kiddos go to bed one early December evening and they'll get to wake up to a festive and magical Christmas atmosphere.
This holiday season, giving the gift of Christmas magic may be one of the best you can give. This season is a little different than usual. Sometimes, even simple gestures can provide a joyous diversion from the pressures of the world. Your kids will love the excitement and magical atmosphere and will make memories that will last a lifetime