Add More Ho Ho Ho to the Holidays

Add More Ho Ho Ho to the Holidays

by Spoonful Editors | Sponsored by Hallmark
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He’s making a list and checking it twice….

He’ll have a big fat pack upon his back….

So jump in bed, and cover your head, 'cause Santa Claus comes tonight…

There are many songs about Santa – but what do you do if this year your kids need some help getting excited about the jolly man’s impending arrival?

Jingle Bells

Pick up a set of bells at the store and on Christmas Eve have an adult member of the family get close enough to a door or window so they can be heard – but not seen. Shake the bells outside, or hang some so when the breeze comes through – your kids will hear the bells and think they are from Santa’s sleigh.

Santa For Soldiers

When Samantha Platkowski was a little girl, her parents would invite single soldiers who couldn't go home for the holidays over to their house for Christmas dinner. Samantha's mother even asked the soldiers for favorite family recipes, and then made them from scratch so they could have a taste of home. Now that Samantha has a daughter of her own, the Green Bay, Wisc., mom honors that family tradition by sending care packages to the troops every Christmas.

Record a Wish

To make it easier for kids who can’t write to send their list to Santa, Hallmark created Recordable Wish List cards that let them tell Santa exactly what they want for Christmas. There are even cards featuring Mickey Mouse – just in case their wish list includes a trip to Disneyland or Walt Disney World. Make sure to hide the card though – so your kid doesn’t think Santa didn’t get it.

A Cozy Story  

Begin by collecting a stack of holiday and winter books and picking a date to start reading (December 1 is an obvious choice). Choose a title for each night you'll be reading, and write each title on a scrap of paper. Then stash all your scraps in a jar, and at the appointed reading hour let each family member take a turn picking the night's literary fare.

Secret Santa Surprises

Renee W., from Leominster, Mass., said her kids, Amy, 9, and Ellen, 11, loved having Secret Santas in school, so they asked if they could draw names at home, too. In lieu of giving presents, though, the family decided to do nice things for one another instead. The girls were thrilled when they found that someone had fed the cats for them or made their beds. They all got a chance to thank their Secret Santas on Christmas morning, when they revealed whose name they’d drawn.

Santa’s Workshop

Set aside a day during the holidays to transform your playroom into Santa's workshop. Unlike the original at the North Pole, yours won't be turning out new toys but recycling old ones--all those outgrown, no-longer-beloved playthings. Have each of your kids select a few old toys to rejuvenate and give to a needy child. Have on hand a damp dust rag (for spiffing up grimy plastic), a bottle of white glue (for attaching googly eyes to a puppet or severed arms to an injured nutcracker) and a hairbrush and ribbons (for dressing up old dolls).

Holiday House Call

To help kick off the holiday season, Darcie G. of Paso Robles, Calif., arranges for a secret visit from Doogan, Santa's chief elf, right after Thanksgiving. Each year her three children return home from an outing to find that Doogan came by while they were out, bringing them each a new ornament for the tree and an Advent chain to help them countdown to Christmas. Doogan also brings a letter from Mrs. Claus reminding them that Christmas is right around the corner and to continue with their good behavior. The girls count on Doogan to stop by and are always eager to see their shiny new ornaments.

Countdown to Christmas

Hallmark’s Digital Countdown cards countdown to Christmas right in front of your eyes. The clock, which is broken down by days and hours, can be displayed on a mantle or on the bedtable in your children's room. This way they can wake up every morning and see how many days it is until Santa arrives.

For more great cards to get your family excited about Santa, including one that will change your voice to the voice of an elf, visit

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