1. The Spirit of Santa - Through The Elf on the ShelfGet everyone into the Christmas spirit with the Elf on the Shelf. Start by reading the book that comes with the elf and explains its purpose.
Basically, the elf watches your children by day and then flies to the North Pole at night to report to Santa Claus. He flies back before the kids wake up and lands in a new spot for the day. The fun of the elf is that parents put him or her in new places each day and the kids find him in his new location.
Really make the fun come alive when your elf shows off his humorous side. Check out Pinterest for ideas on places and situations to put your elf in, such as taking a ride in Barbie's car, having a sick day or drawing pictures on your family photos.
2. The Spirit of Santa - Ring the Sleigh BellsImagine your children's eyes widening when they hear the sound of sleigh bells the night before Christmas. Wake them up to tell them you hear Santa on the roof and have someone shake bells to simulate sleigh bells.
Another option, if you're having a hard time getting your kids to go to sleep Christmas Eve, is to tell them you hear sleigh bells. Cue the sleigh bells and tell the kids they need to go to sleep before Santa comes down the chimney.
3. The Spirit of Santa - He Needs His Own Wrapping PaperHow ironic it is that Santa has the same wrapping paper as your family. Buy a few rolls of wrapping paper that's just for Santa gifts or make your own.
Be sure to tuck it away so it's not seen before or after Christmas. Remember, Santa's wrapping is done at the North Pole, not in your living room, so don't get busted.
4. The Spirit of Santa - Write Letters to HimAsk your kids to write letters to Santa. In the letters, they can tell Santa what they're grateful for and write up their wish list for Christmas.
Younger kids who can't yet write can draw Santa pictures. For their wish lists, they can paste pictures from catalogs onto a piece of paper.
5. The Spirit of Santa - Pay Him a VisitAfter everyone's letters to Santa have been written, it's time to visit the big guy. You can explain the mall Santa is one of Santa's helpers or let them believe he is the real Santa Claus.
Just make sure they deliver their letters and have time to talk to him. Of course, while you're there, get a picture as a Christmas keepsake.
6. The Spirit of Santa - Get a Personalized Video from SantaNothing will keep Santa alive like the kids getting a personalized video message from him. Visit PortableNorthPole.com and Santa will mention your kids by name.
The video messages are free and easy to create. Just pick whether your child has been naughty, nice or a combination of both. After that, answer a few simple questions, such as how to pronounce your child's name, what her personality is like and what she hopes to receive for Christmas.
7. The Spirit of Santa - Feed Him and His ReindeerA favorite Christmas tradition is to leave milk and cookies for Santa. Overnight, mom or dad finishes off the sweet treats and downs the milk or leaves bite marks on the cookies and maybe even a note from Santa thanking the kids.
Another great way to keep the magic of Christmas alive is to encourage your kids to leave reindeer food and carrots out for Santa's reindeer. After your children go to sleep on Christmas Eve, scatter the the reindeer food and leave behind half-eaten carrots so the reindeer look like they've been snacking in your yard.
8. The Spirit of Santa - Show Evidence of Their PresenceChristmas morning kids may be focused on the presents but you can make sure they feel Santa's presence. You've left the milk and cookies out for Santa and the oats and carrots out for the reindeer and made sure it looks like Santa and his reindeer have enjoyed their snacks.
Now make Santa boot prints around your fireplace or Christmas tree. Use fake snow if your children are younger and won't catch on that the snow isn't melting. Or make muddy boot print marks instead. Outside, make reindeer tracks to show that Santa's reindeer were in your yard.
9. The Spirit of Santa - Leave His Peppermint ScentWhat do you think Santa smells like? How about peppermint?
Crush peppermint or buy peppermint oil to fill the air on Christmas Day. Make the peppermint scent long after Christmas with peppermint-scented pine cones you can make yourself. Tell the kids that's the sweet smell of Santa.