Thanks to the pandemic, numerous traditions have been put on hold, like sitting on Santa’s lap. Kids can’t walk up to Santa, sit on his lap, and tell him how good they’ve been and what they’d like for Christmas. But that doesn’t mean a Santa visit is out of the question. Instead, let your kids video chat with Santa. It’s a little different but still fun for your little ones.
Free Video Chat with Santa
Most options are charging a fee. After all, Santas normally get paid for all those visits to malls, retail stores, parades, and more. However, there is one incredibly easy free option – ask a loved one to play Santa.
Ask your relative or friend to dress up as the big man in red. If no one owns a Santa suit, you’ll have to rent one. You could also make your own, which is sometimes easier and safer, or also ask friends on social media if anyone has a costume and would be willing to play Santa.
Then, schedule a Zoom chat. You can record the call as a keepsake versus the traditional picture.
With JingleRing, you can order a recorded message from Santa or video chat with Santa. Personalize the experience for your family by completing a short profile questionnaire. You can even choose the ethnicity of your Santa. Not only do you get a visit from Santa, but you’ll also get a group picture to keep and a free activity ebook.
Live chats are $24.95, and you’ll need to reserve a time in advance. You can even add a thank-you call after Christmas. For an additional fee, Santa or Mrs. Claus will read a story to your kids.
Chit Chat with Santa
Another great way to video chat with Santa is Chit Chat With Santa. As the name implies, your child gets to chat directly with Santa and even Mrs. Claus. Each call is only six minutes, though you can schedule multiple calls throughout the season. Every call is $35 and must be booked in advance.
Since the session is browser-based, you don’t have to download anything – you just need a computer or phone with a good camera and Internet connection.
There are other options you can add for an additional fee including storytime and a quick recorded message from Santa.
Santa at Home
Santa at Home allows up to six kids per call, making it great for larger families or inviting a few of your child’s friends to join in on the call. All video chats are done over Zoom and last for up to 12 minutes.
When you’re done, there is an option to download a video. You’re also encouraged to take as many pictures or screenshots as you want. It’s one of the more expensive options at $72, but you do get the option to have multiple kids at once.
Visit from the Clauses
For a highly personalized experience, Visit from the Clauses is a great alternative to sitting on Santa’s lap. There are multiple packages available and some add-ons, such as downloadable video. However, you can simply record your screen, too.
The detailed questionnaire during booking even includes details for your Elf on the Shelf, if you have one. The five-minute package starts at $79.99, although there are some discounts advertised on the site. If you want other family members to join in or even have a small holiday party with multiple kids, you can buy a 30-minute session for $229.
Santa: The Experience
If you want a little more than just a video chat with Santa, try Santa: The Experience. While the experience is only around 12 minutes, including a five minute live chat with Santa, kids are guided around Santa’s workshop and meet elves and Mrs. Claus. It’s a cute alternative and helps get kids really excited to meet Santa.
Prices vary based on the time you book. For instance, earlier morning times further from Christmas are $44.95, while evening times on Christmas Eve are $79.95. You can also add the Elftastic package, which includes a recording of your Zoom call, printed Nice List certificate, and printed photos of your child during the call. The latter two are sent out by mail after your call.
Don’t forget to check with local businesses that may be offering socially-distanced Santa visits in person. Some local malls are even offering video chats as well. Also, if you need to give Santa a little help with his shopping, find out how to track the best deals on Amazon.
Image credit: Children showing picture to Santa Claus by DepositPhotos