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Santa freebies

Free Santa letters and more for 2015

Ignore the numerous companies advertising letters from Santa for a fee. You can get them without paying a penny, and this includes Braille letters for blind children too.

But why let the magic end there? In a matter of minutes, you can send a free personalised video message from Santa - whatever the recipent's age - or track his progress as he whizzes around the world delivering presents on Christmas Eve.

Free letter from Santa

Smiley Santa

Many companies charge around a tenner a time to reply to children's letters to Father Christmas. Yet if you apply to Royal Mail, you can get a response for free.

What to do

Ask your child - or you can do it if they're too young - to write a letter to Father Christmas and send it to Royal Mail's address by Sunday 6 December 2015.

Your little 'un should receive a personally-addressed reply before Christmas Eve.

What to include in the letter

In addition to anything your kiddie wants to tell Santa, ensure they include their name, gender (for example, "I've been a good boy/girl this year") and a reply address.

A list of what they'd like for Christmas would be good too, but remember this doesn't have to include material objects!

We received lots of emails from disgruntled MoneySavers in previous years after Royal Mail failed to reply to many of the letters.

When we asked it whether the same would happen this year, it said it had taken on extra staff and changed the postcode of the address to make the process more efficient. However, it still can't guarantee your child will receive a reply, so while this is a nice freebie, it's not a definite.

Where to send it

Just pop it in the post (either a 1st or 2nd class stamp is fine), addressed to:

Santa/Father Christmas, Santa's Grotto, Reindeerland, XM4 5HQ

Is this guaranteed?

All children whose letters are sent before the deadline (Sun 6 Dec) should receive Santa's reply by Christmas Eve. Yet a couple of years back, in 2013, we received emails from lots of disgruntled MoneySavers after Royal Mail failed to stay on top of things.

Royal Mail's told us this year Santa will reply to "as many letters as he possibly can", but said if he finds himself snowed under he may have to write some replies after Christmas, when he'll thank children for their letters and wish them a Happy New Year. So while this is a nice freebie, it's not guaranteed. Get the letter in early if you can.

Free letter for blind children

Child reading BrailleBlind or partially-sighted children can write to Santa and get a free reply in Braille, audio or large print.

What to do

Father Christmas's chums at the Royal National Institute for the Blind help him translate letters, so your little one can read his reply themselves and not rely on sighted people to read them out.

What to include in the letter

Include your child's name, address, a contact number for any further queries, preferred language (English and/or Welsh) and preferred reply format (either uncontracted Braille, contracted Braille, large print (please specify font size) or audio CD.

Where to send it to

Just write to Santa Claus, RNIB, PO Box 173, Peterborough, PE2 6WS. The closing date for letters is Tuesday 1 December 2015.

Alternatively you or your child can email and you'll get an email reply from him. The closing date for emails is Friday 18 December 2015.

Read more at the RNIB. Some of previous year's letters gave Martin leaky eyes. See them on his blog: Read letters from blind children to Santa.

NSPCC letter (suggested £5 donation)

The NSPCC offers a personalised letter from Santa for a suggested donation of £5. Create your letter (including name, age, gender, language - English or Welsh - best friend's name and address) online at NSPCC before Friday 18 December 2015. You can select from a range of different letter templates for all ages.

The suggested donation is £5 and although you can donate less, please remember this is a charity and it has to cover the cost of each letter.

Every £5 raised will go to ChildLine, while every £50 will go towards a trained practitioner giving two hours of support on the NSPCC’s helpline for anyone who has concerns about a child.

Free personalised video

There's a website (going live late November, exact date TBC) that'll send your friends and family free personalised online video messages from Santa (lasting around four minutes) - incredibly cute for kids and hilarious for adult recipients!

Just follow this simple step-by-step process. To make it even more fun, upload a photo of the person you're sending it to. You'll need the digital photo handy when you do it.

  • STEP 1: Tell the Santa about the recipient.

    Go to the Portable North Pole website and answer the questions, including the recipient's age, whether they've been good or bad (the latter option's only available to adults and teens), their name, gender, where they live and more. If your name isn't in their database you can select from a list of alternative nicknames if you scroll to the bottom of the drop down list.

    There's quite a few questions, but it should take less than a minute to complete. The more detail you add, the more fun it is as they'll be mentioned at various points in the video.

  • STEP 2: Add a photo.

    You don't have to do this, but again, it makes it more personal. It can be a JPEG, GIF or PNG file with a maximum size of 3MB. All photos uploaded will be deleted from the site's database before the launch of the following year.

  • STEP 3: Send to your recipient.

    Enter your name, email address and that of the recipient, plus double-check the details. You can use the back button to amend the details at any time. Once happy, if you agree to the terms of use, hit 'OK' and it'll be sent via email to your friend.

  • If you want to be able to go back and edit it, save the username and enter a password. Hey presto, that's it. You must be over 13 years old to use the site.

    It's worth noting the terms of use state:

    "In addition to the information you enter in the PNP registration sheet, we may collect information about your browser type, location, and IP address, as well as the pages you visit.

    "We may use "cookies" (small pieces of data we store for an extended period of time on your computer, mobile phone, or other device) to make PNP easier to use, to make our advertising better.

    "We may institute programmes with advertising partners and other websites in which they share information with us."

    So make sure you clear your cache afterwards, if you're not happy with this. Here's a screengrab from one we did:

    Portable North Pole Screenshot

Track Santa as he delivers presents

From Tuesday 1 December 2015, free site Norad Santa lets you watch Santa's progress as he visits the homes of good boys and girls delivering presents on Christmas Eve.

It's great fun for kids and adults too, and there's a new Santa's Village with games to keep the little ones entertained as St Nicholas and his reindeers fly closer to the UK.