One of the greatest opportunities that the Internet has granted to each of us is more direct contact with people around the world. With the emergence of smart phones and mobile technology, we really can hold the whole world in our hands. Lest you forget, that includes the North Pole and its most revered resident, Santa Claus. Now, whether you’re a tech-junkie like me or just want to bring your holiday traditions into the 21st Century, here are a few ideas to maximize your holiday experience this year.

Google, along with some elf developers, have created a website that allows you to count down the days until Santa’s sleigh takes to the skies. An interactive advent calendar of sorts, this Santa tracker gives kids and adults alike a sneak peek behind the scenes at the North Pole while offering some very addicting Christmas-themed games and activities as well. Everything you will find at Google’s Santa tracker website leads up to Christmas Eve when the site will broadcast a live feed of the dashboard on Santa’s sleigh, equipped with Google Maps.

Worried that Old Saint Nick won’t know exactly what you want this year? He does have his ways. But if you are worried that he might miss a thing or two, List Ideas is the website for you. What this site does is allow you to create a wish list for everything you could possibly want. With the use of the List Ideas bookmarklet, you can add your favorite toys and trinkets to your list from wherever you find them on the Web. Invite family and friends to view your list just in case Santa has already packed his bag. And add your list to your Facebook page or your blog. As we are quickly learning in this digital age, marketing is everything, even if they are your selfish desires.

For those who feel that giving is more important than getting, Elfster will make your job easier and more fun especially if your friends and family live far away from you. It’s a micro-social network that brings you and whomever you invite into a small group where each of you can share your own meticulously crafted wish lists. Rather than declaring what you want others to give you, Elfster enables you to be someone else’s Secret Santa by asking others anonymous questions about their sugar plum dreams so that you can secretly make their holiday brighter by picking up  some Christmas joy and shipping it to them on behalf of their Secret Santa.

Before getting too excited about Kris Kringle dropping down your chimney, you might want to do a little research as to whether you have landed yourself on Santa’s naughty or nice list. Sure, you have your secrets. But what have you been Tweeting about this year. Santa knows. And you can too by logging on to Social Santa. This website analyzes all of the Tweets that you have sent throughout the year to determine whether or not you’ve been minding your ps and qs. As of this writing, there are currently 52,911 people on the nice list and 65,473 who should start expecting coal.

If you have young ones who are unsure of what to expect, have a letter from Santa sent directly to them from the North Pole. The Santa Claus House is a family-run company that has been sending personalized letters to children from Santa for over 50 years. For less than ten bucks, your kiddo can receive a  customized letter from Jolly Old Saint Nicholas on official Santa Claus letterhead along with a picture and a sticker to certify that he or she is on this year’s nice list. Best of all, the letter and goodies will arrive in an envelope with a North Pole (Alaska) postmark and an exclusive “Santa’s Official Mail” seal, a holiday surprise that will not soon be forgotten.

Ho, ho, hopefully these ideas will help you add to your Christmas spirit in a more creative way . . . and possibly reconsider the content of your Tweets. Either way, happy holidays!

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