Free Santa letters, personalised videos and more for 2018
The deadline for this year's free Santa letters has now passed (we've left the key info below for reference), but the Christmas magic doesn't have to end there...
In a matter of minutes, you can request a free personalised video message from Santa - for recipients of any age - or track his progress as he delivers presents on Christmas Eve.
Track Santa on Christmas Eve
Each year, free website Norad Santa opens its doors in early December to let families track Santa's progress as he visits the homes of good boys and girls on Christmas Eve.
While the location tracking element is only on Christmas Eve itself (Santa's exact location is top secret until then), there's a virtual Santa's Village for kids to explore - full of games, videos and music to keep them entertained in the lead up the Christmas.
Personalised Santa videos
Each year, a website called Portable North Pole lets you send friends or family a free personalised video message from Santa - incredibly cute for kids to receive and potentially hilarious for grown-ups to exchange. It'll ask you to upload photos of yourself and the recipient, plus a picture of the gift they'd most like to receive for Christmas.
IMPORTANT: There's also a range of 'premium' videos that cost money to send. Make sure you're looking at the free options if you don't want to pay - you won't be asked to enter payment details for the free videos, so if this happens go back and try again.
It only takes a few minutes to set up. Here's a still from one we made for Martin:
It's worth noting Portable North Pole's terms state the following:
"We will usually inform you (before collecting your data) if we intend to use your data for marketing purposes. You can exercise your right to prevent such processing by checking certain boxes on the forms we use to collect your data."
To prevent your data from being used for marketing, in addition to clicking the tick boxes you can contact the company directly via this online form.
NSPCC letter (£5 donation)
If yo missed this year's deadline for a free letter from Santa, you can still apply to receive a personalised reply from Santa's elves at the NSPCC in exchange for a donation to the charity (minimum £5). See the charity's website for full NSPCC Santa Letter info.
Free letter from Santa
Each year, Santa's elves at the Royal Mail can help you get a letter from Santa, if kids write to him by early December.
This year's deadline was Fri 7 Dec, so you've missed it for 2018 - though we reckon it'll be back next year, so we're leaving all the info here for reference.
Technically, it isn't 100% free as you'll need to post your letter to Santa with a stamp (67p first class, 58p second). Just remember to include kids' full name and address, so Santa knows where to send his reply.
It's also worth remembering things can go wrong, as we reported a few years ago in our Royal Mail fails to deliver news story. Royal Mail says it can't guarantee a reply, even if you've sent your letter nice and early.
So while a nice festive freebie, it's a good idea to prep kids for disappointment (just in case) by reminding them Santa's very busy - so may not write back to everyone.
Where to send kids' letters
Pop it in the post with a stamp (remember the deadline was Fri 7 Dec), and address it to: Santa/Father Christmas, Santa's Grotto, Reindeerland, XM4 5HQ.
Free Braille letter from Santa
Santa has some elves at the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) - find their address below - who help him respond to children who are blind or partially-sighted.
What to do
Along with their letter, you need to include the child's name, age and home address, a telephone number (in case there's a query), as well as what format you require - either uncontracted or contracted Braille, a specific large font size, or audio CD.
This year's deadline was Sat 1 Dec, so you've missed it for 2018 - though we reckon it'll be back next year, so we're leaving all the info here for reference.
Where to send kids' letters
You need to post your letter to the RNIB's elves at the following address: Santa Claus, RNIB, Midgate House, Peterborough, PE1 1TN.
Alternatively, if you miss the postal deadline, you've usually an extra week to send your letter by email and receive an email reply. Santa's RNIB email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The closing date for emails was Fri 14 Dec.