Growing up, my parents never really fell for the whole Santa Claus thing. I can’t even tell you the number of times my brother and I left milk and cookies out for the big guy every Christmas Eve, only to find that it had remained untouched by the next day. One time, my father bluntly told us that Santa died a few years back and that everyone was conspiring to keep the memory of him alive. Needless to say, a few of my childhood Christmas morning were replete with disappointments.
Children should not have to live with the cruel reality that Santa doesn’t care about them! Santa is very real (actual fact), and here are some ways you and your kids can keep track of and stay in touch with jolly, old Saint Nick.
If your kids have ever had any doubt as to whether Santa Claus actually exists, then check out Kringl. Kringl is a mobile, augmented reality app that allows you to create video evidence of Santa’s visit. The ability to line up and resize the floor guide on the app allows parents to make the scene as close to reality as possible. There are three available scenes to choose from: Santa eating your milk and cookies, Santa searching for your gift, and Santa checking to see if you’re on his list. Download it for free on iOS or Android.
You fill out a form through the Magic Santa website, and the company crafts a personalized video response from Santa that includes the kid’s name and corresponding gift list. The video is free to make, so definitely try make one for baby Katniss or little Optimus Prime.
This is the official Santa-tracking app from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which has been tracking St. Nick since 1955. While you can track him from a mobile application, the web app has gone through a MAJOR makeover for this holiday season. Aside from tracking Santa, the app features a few games, a Christmas music playlist, and some videos about Santa. It’s definitely worth checking out. Download it for free on iOS, Android, or Windows.
Portable North Pole gives parents several options for providing evidence that Santa isn’t avoiding your kids. The all-in-one app allows you to create a personalized messages for kids, advent calendar, Christmas countdown timer, Santa radar, as well as some fun videos (including a sneak peak into Santa’s workshop). You can also purchase some personalized gift ideas from their site, such as Christmas letters, ”nice list” certificates, and other neato things. Download the app for $3.99 on iOS or Android.
Similar to Kringl, the Santa Spy Cam offers parents with the ability to show video evidence of Santa having visited their home. The Santa Spy cam, however, also employs Santa’s elves in some of the scenes, including a drawn out Seven Nights Before Christmas scene. There are a few free available scenes that come with the app, but additional scenes can be unlocked through in-app purchases. Download it for free on iOS.
True story: NORAD used to provide the Santa tracking for Google, but this year, NORAD went with Microsoft. But that’s fine, since Google has created an entirely different Santa tracking experience. The actual Santa tracking function won’t go live until Christmas Eve, but the site features several games, animations, and activities for kids and parents. The Google Santa Tracker is actually super fun (I think the animations really bring this experience). Aside from the Web app, it’s also available for Chrome (as an extension), Android, and even Glass.
Are your kids interested in keeping an eye on Santa’s reindeer? ReindeerCam is an app that essentially shows a live feed of his reindeer, with the occasional visit from the big man himself feeding his loyal creatures. Download it for $1.99 on iOS, Android, or Windows.