Preparing for Home Visits & Parties
SLO Santa will follow up with a phone call when a Home Visit Party is scheduled. The general guidelines are:
Be clear with all guests about agreed-upon protocols (COVID, photos, etc.)
Reserve a parking place for SLO Santa, on or immediately adjacent to the venue property
Elf "Pepper Mintsticks" may accompany SLO Santa and help with logistics
If gifts are to be passed out, mark them clearly and place in the agreed-upon location for SLO Santa to load his bag
Have a designated place for SLO Santa to sit and gather kids around him
Let SLO Santa "own the room" -- assist with discipline when necessary
Plan a place for photos, if that is part of the event
Tips for the "Santa Gift Dilemma"
Is your child asking Santa for something that isn't coming -- something too expensive or age inappropriate?
Here are some strategies for handling this dilemma.
* It starts with gratitude! Have discussions about being grateful for whatever gifts are received. Talk to your kids about the importance Santa puts on spreading the joy (and gifts) to ALL children.
* Have your child put a few things on the Santa list: Santa needs choices, so he can bring at least one gift on the list that he thinks is best.
* Cost restrictions: explain that Santa has a budget for each family. He does his best to spread the costs of gifts fairly among each family member. "That RC car would take gifts away from the rest of the family."
* Remind kids that Santa knows them well! He will bring things they like, even if they aren't on the list.
* SLO Santa won't make promises about gifts. He will work with you on explanations for not receiving a gift!
* Explain that Santa looks out for their safety, and he won't be bringing something that is dangerous. He won't bring something that is meant for older kids.
* Appeal to the kids' empathy: talk about being mindful of Santa's feelings, and not asking for something that he just can't bring, as that would make him feel bad. As above, talk to the kids about children less fortunate, and spreading the gifts around.
* Discuss limited resources: there are just about 2 billion children in the world, and even Santa has limited supplies for the most popular gifts!
* Stress the joy of giving! Encourage your child to channel energy into GIVING a special present; choosing a person and discovering what they'd really like. Help the child choose, shop for, and wrap the gift. Talk about the real spirit of gift-giving throughout the process.
Christmas Countdown Links
Here are some ideas for every skill level, time limit, and budget!
Open small gifts each day with this tree made from upcycled paper towel tubes, tissue paper, and ribbon. (From Premeditated Leftovers):
Open a holiday themed book a day, and read with the kids. And you have a great collection for each year! Here is a premade one that you can order:
Do you have lots of ambition and space? Once you've made this wooden countdown tree, you'll have it each year! (From Sugar and Charm):
This one can be as simple or involved as you like. It's a box of small envelopes, which you can fill with coins, stickers, activity ideas, etc. (From Simply Stamped):
Make this simple countdown wreath with a wreath form, clothespins, washi tape,and small cards. (From Kids' Activities):
Santa's Growing Beard
* The kids will have fun helping Santa grow his beard!
* Starting December 1, stick a cotton ball on the corresponding number. (Depending on the size printed, you may want to cut cotton balls in half).
* When the beard is full, it's Christmas Eve-- Santa's big night!
* Click print at the top of the image, or download your own copy (print on cardstock, if you have it).
You've Been Elfed!
* Spread the holiday cheer in your neighborhood!
* Put together some treats, and package them up with both of these pages
* Sneak them onto a neighbor's porch
* Watch the joy spread as more and more signs go up!
* To make it easy for everyone to participate, you can print several copies of each page, and put them in a large envelope that gets passed on
* If it slows down, start again at a house that doesn't have a sign!
*** Click on Print or Download at the top of the image
Elf on the Shelf (R) Ideas
Here are a variety of some tried and true, some unique, and some easy peasy ideas!
* Hide your elf in the fridge. Spell out HELP ME with your fridge magnets.
* Crisscross painter’s tape across your child’s bedroom door opening. Tape your elf to the door jamb.
* Fill a bowl or fish bowl with goldfish crackers. Tie a piece of string to a skewer to make a fishing pole. Set your elf on the edge of the bowl, and tuck the fishing pole under its arm.
* Set up a game of checkers with one move left to win. Set up your elf on the other side of the board, with a note that says YOUR MOVE. (Reset the game and play a round with your child.)
* Set up your elf doing the activity/game/trend that your child is into right now.
* Always losing the remote? Place your elf next to the TV, hugging the remote.
* Have your elf “do one of your child’s chores.” Hide the elf so your child discovers the finished task (in the emptied dishwasher, on top of the folded clothes, in a ziploc bag taped to the dog poop shovel…)