Anyone who lives within cooee of a kid under twelve probably already knows that it is not long til Christmas. The first giveaway was the appearance of Christmas cake and decorations in the shops shortly after Father's Day.
It's easy to get caught up in all the craziness of the festive season, but if you are organised, you can ensure your child gets one of the nicest Christmas gifts: a letter from Santa.
Santa is pretty busy these days, so he has a number of helpers busily writing letters. Some are free, the most expensive is $12. All are priceless when you see your child's face light up when they realise who the letter is from.
Over 120,000 kids every year send letters to Santa via Australia Post, making it one of the biggest and oldest Santa letter program in the country. Apart from the child's name and address, the letters are not personalised but they are free and arrive in the mailbox as real letters should.
Cost: 60 cent stamp Address: Santa, NORTH POLE, 9999 Write your letters between: December 1st to December 17th Letters posted: before Christmas Remember: the child's name and address must be on the back of the envelope.
Santa's Little Elves
Letters from Santa are highly personalised and typed on special A4 stationery that changes every year. The letters have a special North Pole postmark, and encourages kids to get involved in a helping activity such as donating a toy or book to charity. Each letter includes stickers and a decoration to hang on the tree.
There are a number of ways to change the content so siblings can get quite different letters. All letters are delivered in discreet envelope to Mum and Dad, well before Christmas, so you can decide if you want to slip it under their pillow or put it in the letterbox for them to find.
Personalised letters from Santa take on an Aussie theme: think less snow and more Boomers. Each letters also includes Christmas cooking and craft ideas, a North Pole postmark and a small gift. You can choose the letterhead so it's easy to get different looking letters for siblings.
If you prefer, they offer a Christmas Letter (rather than a letter from Santa). Why wait til Christmas – they also offer Christmas in July letters, letters from Santa mid-year to say he noticed a great achievement, or a letter in the lead-up to Christmas to remind kids to behave. What a brilliant idea.
If you read this article and think 'what a great idea, I must do that' and then promptly forget, then this is the option for you. Get an email from Santa! After all, it is the new millennium. This provides an instant response online (you don't actually have to provide your email address): you simply fill in blanks, hit submit and wait for a response. You can then print out your letter and save it for posterity.
The website also has heaps of other Christmas activities and links, and although it seems a little old-school in terms of its typeface it has the gorgeous feature than when you move the cursor over the screen, little gold stars fall out of it.
I tried it out, with my real age, and they quite cleverly recognised this and referred to me as an 'older kid'. Santa also complimented me on my manners because I said 'thankyou' in my 'comments to Santa' section.
Letters From Santa
Letters from Santa are personalised, and kids also receive a sticker, a 'sweet surprise' (lollies) and 'something joyful' (song lyrics). Kids who have a letter ordered for them also go into the draw for a Christmas prize.
For a bit of fun (or emotional blackmail) you can also can purchase a Good Behaviour certificate from November 1st. There are two options: the DIY print is $2 or you can have it printed and posted to you for $8.
Cost: $9 before October 30th (2012) and $11 until deadline December 7th
Write your letters: Now until December 7th
Letters posted: December 1st (late orders will be posted up to December 14th) Click here to order letter.
The Letter Fairy
The Letter Fairy must be Santa's elf's sister's best friend's next door neighbour. She is also friends with the Tooth Fairy and a few others, and delivers a personalised, two page, A4 letter with mentions of friends, pets, family, school and more. As a result, these letters are substantially longer than the others.
The Letter Fairy also does customised letters for other major events in your child's life such as their first day of school, birthdays, belated birthdays, get well soon, Tooth Fairy, Official Santa's Nice List Certificate, and a New Baby.