I’m not the kind of parent who likes the “kid crying on Santa’s lap” photo and I certainly don’t relish the thought of waiting on a long line at the mall to see Santa Claus, whether my daughter decides she hates him or he’s her best buddy. Then I discovered some technological alternatives to the dreaded mall trip and I am intrigued enough to try one or all of them. Hey, if the guy can fly through the air and drop gifts to millions of children in one night, it's about time he had some internet exposure.
A friend sent me a Santa website where you can input specific information about your child (but not too specific), including your child’s name, age, how they’ve been good this year & that special gift they’re craving this season. Then you receive an email with a link to a video greeting from St. Nick himself. It’s free, it can be tailored to each child and it’s quick and easy to set up. My husband and I thought it was great. I got the email after my daughter's bedtime so she hasn't seen it yet, but I think she might prefer it to a face-to-face meeting.
I also learned of another site called VisitSantaOnline, which allows children & parents to see Santa live for free. For a donation (a portion goes to Chicago's Children's Memorial Hospital), Santa can also hear and see you and your kids.
NORAD Tracks Santa has been in the business for many years of allowing children to track Santa's Christmas Eve flight on television but they have a website as well where kids can watch videos, visit Santa's Village and, of course, watch him in action on December 24th.
There are lots of places to bump into Santa in New Jersey this holiday season - including charity events - so we might still try the traditional route.
But I wonder how much my parents would’ve loved being able to just plop us in front of the computer to say hi to Santa. No big photo opportunity, but no crying either.
Originally Published By Sandra K. Lee on December 15, 2009 on the New Jersey Mom's Blog.
Is there a special gene that every father carries that makes him want to tease and torment his children? Not that I don’t enjoy my husband’s teasing sessions (or my daughter’s indignant reactions), but it seems like my husband, my father, my brother – and nearly every dad I know – has made picking on their kids an art form. Just the other day, my daughter innocently asked my husband to sing Frosty the Snowman and, of course, he made up his own lyrics. He called Frosty anything but a snowman and our daughter yowled in frustration. I was certainly laughing because I can't always win an argument with her (yep, my view of success has been reduced to winning disputes against a pre-schooler but I'm ok with that).
This morning she was “talking” on the telephone to her pretend friend and Daddy took the phone and asked for Plonky. “That’s not her name!” our daughter screamed. I was thoroughly entertained but I had to ask him why he does it. He said, “I like to force her way of thinking to my way of thinking.” I guess his technique worked because a few minutes later she began referring to her pretend friend as Plonky.
I have to admit my husband was probably reinforcing her memory skills as she kept correcting him with the Frosty lyrics although his approach might blow up in his face down the road. I hope he remembers his confession to messing with her head for sheer pleasure because I’m sure it’s going to come up in her future therapy sessions. Until then, I guess I’ll be the enabler because it’s just too darn funny.
Originally published By Sandra K. Lee December 4, 2009 on the New Jersey Mom's Blog.
Sandra K. Lee