This year in person visits with Santa Claus are happening behind plexiglass. I obviously understand the precaution and even agree, but it feels a little prison visit for me and I'd prefer something less obstructed. I don't want my kid to have to wear a mask while telling Santa what's on his Christmas list. Technology to the rescue! This year have your kid connect with Santa from the comfort and safety of your home, no mask required!

The Santa Hotline is up and running, ready for your calls. Dial +1 (605) 313-4000 and you have your kid leave Santa and his elves warm holiday wishes, reasons they've been a good boy or girl, and even their Christmas list. If you use your cell phone, Santa will send you a text with a recording of your kid's message in case you want to share it with family and Facebook.

For a more personalized experience, head over to Cameo and have one of their Santa Clauses deliver a message to your little one. This option is perfect for the "Santa Scare Tactic." Give St. Nick some details of your kid's bad behavior and have him warn that they'll land on the naughty list if they keep it up. Or you could be a nice parent and have Santa praise them for specific accomplishments and good behavior. Really enforce that whole "He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake" thing. You can find a believable Santa starting at $25

If that's a little too pricey, the Message From Santa! app is free! It's available for iOS and Android and you can leave Father Christmas a voicemail, get a call from him, text with him, and receive a video message. You can unlock more features with in-app purchases as well. But I've navigated my way through the app and free features are great on their own.

Portable North Pole is another awesome app for Santa to connect with your kid. Punch in a few details of your child along with a photo and they'll get a personalized video message from Father Christmas for free. Easy-peasy. You can upgrade to Premium for more advanced features, which I think is worth it. There are a ton of customizable creative options.

But what about actually getting a picture with Santa Claus? Kringle Mingle has got you covered. For $29.99 your kid can enjoy a one-on-one virtual visit with Santa and a picture of their screen time with him, access to The Kringle Pic virtual photo booth, and receive an "Official Nice List" printable Certificate for your child.

I think these options are great every year for Christmas. My kids like Santa at a distance anyway. The moment he's up close and personal they freak out and the picture doesn't turn out. Virtual is the way to go!


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