How to Prepare for Santa's Arrival

by Ashley Bumgardner

‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house not a creature was stirring—except for you in a flurry of tape, wrapping paper, and a Tickle-Me Elmo that won’t stop laughing and shaking long enough to stuff it in a gift bag. Meanwhile, your Elf on the Shelf is watching you with a disapproving gaze.

It’s the dreaded Christmas Eve rush of wrapping gifts and trying to get them under the tree so when the kids wake up in the morning they are in awe and wonder at the magic of Santa. In the busy hustle and bustle of Christmas get-togethers, dinners, and trying to make everything great and magical for your little ones, you’ve once again put off several Christmas must-haves until the last minute.

In addition to wrapping gifts, you also need to find “The Night Before Christmas” storybook, get carrots for the reindeer, and of course, milk and cookies for Santa. Ah, yes, Santa. If only that jolly, old man in a red suit really could come and bring the gifts all neatly packaged and wrapped with a bow. Instead, there you are frantically wrapping gifts at 11:00 at night after you finally get your excited children to sleep.

But this year it will be different. With these tips and tricks, you will be prepped and ready for Christmas . . . you may even get to relax and enjoy a glass of wine on Christmas Eve!

Gift Wrapping

Try wrapping a couple gifts each night leading up to Christmas—you know, when your kids go to bed at their normal time, rather than the ultra-excited, can’t sleep, Christmas Eve bedtime.

You can even take the guesswork out of which wrapping paper to use by wrapping all the gifts from Santa in the same paper. Your kids will love knowing which presents are from St. Nick and you will love how quickly your wrapping sessions are when you don’t have to switch rolls of paper for every gift.

You can also take advantage of the gift-wrapping services offered by many retailers. Most online shopping sites and brick & mortar stores offer gift-wrapping for a nominal fee. You may also find a few fundraiser booths set up at your local shopping mall. This is a great way to help those groups raise funds for a good cause and in return, they help you save a little sanity . . . it’s a win-win!

Wrapping Christmas Presents

Treats for Santa . . . and the Reindeer!

If baking is your thing, decide on the flavor of cookies and buy all your ingredients a week or two ahead of time. This will give you the option of making the sweet treats when it is convenient for you. Making the cookies a little in advance will allow for a more enjoyable experience, and asking your little ones to help will be an added bonus, rather than an added stressor.

If baking isn’t your thing, try stopping by a local bakery where you can buy delicious, homemade, unique cookies. If that isn’t an option, there’s no shame at all in buying pre-made, packaged cookies. After all, even Santa likes Oreos!

While you’re at the grocery store, grab a bag of carrots for the reindeer or the ingredients for some Magic Reindeer Food! This fun concoction contains a mixture of oats and edible glitter that you can spread out in your yard so the sparkle will catch the attention of the reindeer as they fly overhead.

Cookies for Santa

House Prep

Maybe you bought the home of your dreams and although you wanted a fireplace, you decided that it wasn't a must-have. After all, it was August when you closed on your home and needing a fireplace wasn't a necessity at that time. But now it's December and it's fast approaching that one night of the year when a fireplace is an absolute must . . . or maybe it's not.

If you find yourself in this situation, you can rest easy because they now make Santa keys. Simply hang the magical key outside on the door handle before going to bed and Santa (and only Santa) will be able to easily enter through your locked front door.

Interacting with Santa

Thanks to modern technology and the resurfacing of a vintage tradition, you can now allow your children to interact with Santa in a few different ways.

One of the more popular traditions, include the Elf on the Shelf. This craze really began to sweep the nation around 2007 and has since become a common part of Christmas for many families. The story is about a magical elf from the North Pole that watches over the children and flies back to Santa every night to report their behavior. The elf usually gets into some kind of mischief during the night, and can be found in a new location every morning, proving to the children that it did in fact come to life as the story said it would.

A quick Google search will yield many results of some fun and entertaining scenarios you can create for your elf. And to help you remember to move your elf every night, simply set a recurring reminder on your phone.

Elf on the Shelf

 

A more interactive approach to communicating with Santa is through a personalized video from Portable North Pole. On this website, you can create an account for each of your children and answer a few questions about them. You will want to do this ahead of time when your children are not around, in order to maintain the “magic” of the video.

When your video email arrives, bring your kids in the room, hit play, and watch their faces light up as Santa reads a letter to them using their name, a unique fact about them, and a special gift from their list. There are free options to choose from for your video, as well as many upgraded, paid versions.

The Night Before

Now that you have followed all these preparation steps, you actually have time on Christmas Eve to indulge in a little magic and family tradition.

To build excitement and help usher your little ones off to bed, you can download a Santa tracker app or visit some Santa tracker websites, offered by Google and NORAD.

These interactive, live trackers will entertain your children and show in real-time where Santa is and how long it will be before he reaches your house. This will serve as a reminder to them that they need to be sound asleep before Santa will stop and drop off their gifts.

A great way to calm your children and help them fall asleep is to read them the renowned classic, The Night Before Christmas.” You can find some beautifully ornate versions of this story or you can keep it simple; either way it is sure to leave a lasting impression on your little ones.

Christmas Storytime

Be sure to use some of these tips to alleviate stress and help you prepare for Santa’s arrival in the coming weeks. And as you establish your own traditions just remember, the reason for the season really is to embrace family, show generosity, and share love with all those in your life. May this Christmas bring you many moments of joy, and a happy, peaceful home!

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