If you’re anything like I was as a child, discovering the true identity of Santa Claus was upsetting. I’ll never forget when my mother asked me to get something from her room and finding wrapped gifts adressed to me from Santa. Right there I knew that either Santa had a new business model and was delivering gifts early, or he simply wasn’t who I thought he was.There is just no reason to let the mystery of Santa Claus fade for the children. Therefore, we’ve worked up a guide on how to pull off the Santa effect so well your children will secretly wonder in their adult years whether the man in red actually came to visit that special Christmas day.
Pre-Planning: Scapegoats and Stories
Every family has their own way of portraying Santa Claus. The build up before Christmas is so big for most children, they are easily spellbound by all things related to the 25th. It’s in these critical few days that you can prepare and psyche out the kids for an epic Santa visit. Here are some suggestions:
- First, have your scapegoats ready – Since you’re going to be Santa, your kids may notice you’re not around when the old man shows up. Tell them you had to go take back a broken gift to the store where you bought it. Maybe you can tell them that you’re off to buy something for your wife and the store is staying open late on Christmas Eve. You could also try a more classic approach. There’s an emergency at the office and you had to go fix something late at night. They’ll believe it.
- Develop your own story – Later on we’ll talk about how to simulate a sleigh landing. If your Santa visit is going to be different than normal, develop a story around it. Some houses and neighborhoods don’t have the traditional roof and chimney capabilities. Although we’re offering suggestions for a more typical home, make plans to custom tailor your ideas for your environment.
Step One: Costume
Your costume is going to be one of your biggest selling points. Take care to go for authenticity. Remember, you can use this year after year, donate the goods for an event, or even resell them when the kids get older. It may cost a few extra bucks, but with pictures and memories, it will be more than worth it.
- Simulate a real beard – Go for a beard with a slightly natural gray tint. Some cheaper Santa beards are made of cotton and don’t look right. Better beards also come with matching wigs.
- The suit is key – Color is also pretty important in this option. Try for a suit with a deeper red, not the bright glowy red that you sometimes get. Some Santas go without the big black boots, which could be trouble.
- To hat or not to hat? – You can go sans hat if you like, but your santa wig has to be on point. You’ll want to accessorize a bit to compensate.
Step 2: Accessories
All too often, it’s the details that make the suit work wonders.
- Santa glasses – Santa is a wise man. How else would he be able to build that all knowing naughty or nice list? Find some nice wiry glasses that look more like reading glasses. Hang them low on your nose.
- Rosy cheeks and nose – Yeah, you’re going to have to wear some make up. Bug your wife for some blush that she may have laying around and blend it liberally over your cheeks and nose. You want to look jolly, so you gotta do it.
- Naughty or Nice list – Get some paper and apply a weathered look to it. If you are good with calligraphy, this could be a benefit. Make up a rolled, scroll-like sheet of paper with names on it. You can have it peeking out of your pocket. You are going to try to get caught by the children, so they’ll have a chance to see it. You can also have the list “accidentally” fall out of your pocket right by where they leave you cookies. Check out this WikiHow on making paper look old.
Step 3: Effects and Aftermath
It’s not enough just to look like Santa, you have to be him. The kids are staying up and waiting to hear something. For these parts, you’ll need some orchestrating so they don’t catch you. Older children who are a bit more “skeptical” can always be a big help in this part.
- Racket on the Roof – Here’s a great way to simulate a rooftop landing. Get a couple of brooms or mops. Grab your wife and tie some bells around your arms. Once you hit the roof, start walking and tapping the brooms. As your arms shake, it will simulate sleigh bells. With 2 sets of feet and potentially 4 brooms, it could almost sound like reindeer pounding around on the roof.
- Ho, Ho, Ho… on tape – If you don’t have the deep voicebox for a santa voice, get a recording. Play it loud enough so the kids can hear a faint sound of the old man.
- Santa treats left behind – A cool trick to simulate Santa on the roof is to throw candy canes, Christmas confetti, gumdrops, etc. off the side of the roof. In the morning you can take the kids outside. Tell them that it must have been treats that fell off of Santa’s sleigh. They’ll be spellbound.
Whatever you decide to do, do it with style. It will be extra work, but you don’t want your kids to stop believeing too early. This will keep them curious for a long time.
What are some of your ideas? Let us know in the comments section. With the right amount of creativity, you can have a Christmas experience never to be forgotten.