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TextsFromSanta

The life of a Santa's Helper

How we’ve grown

Before TextsFromSanta began, I had noticed how tuned in my three boys were into my cell phone and anytime I used it.  Even when they were super young and couldn’t read!  They would always want me to read the texts I received out loud to them (and sometimes tell me what to respond!)

Counting down to Christmas Day has always been a big thing in our house.  I first started building the TextsFromSanta concept for my kids, the kids in my family, and kids of friends of ours.  We would set our ring tone to a Christmas sound, so the kids would know when a text was coming specifically from Santa.  They LOVED it!  It was just enough contact from Santa and would really enforce the countdown to the big day.

Soon friends of friends were interested in getting their children’s name on Santa’s contact list. I built up the system a little larger under the name SantasTexts.com, and made access public, sending the link to my friends and extended family.  That was almost 4 years ago!  Now we have received so much positive feedback and interest from other parents and grandparents, that I’ve been working to rebuild the system into TextsFromSanta.com, with the ability to reach thousands of children around the world!  Santa loves the idea so much that he now sends texts out each day in December up to Christmas – and on Christmas day he even sends a selfie from when he visits a child’s home!

I am still working hard because there are so many additional fun features I would love to build into TextsFromSanta!  A lot of those ideas come from parents and grandparents who have gotten texts from Santa in previous years, or just have great thoughts on how to make the anticipation of Christmas even greater.  If you have any ideas that you think kids would love, let me know!

Owen loves seeing the texts Santa sends to him on my phone!
Owen loves seeing the texts Santa sends to him on my phone!
Featured post

Santa gets his first smartphone!

Hi everyone!  My name is Jennifer.  As a mom of three really well behaved little boys, Santa and I were already pretty close when he got his very first smartphone a couple years ago.  Santa always received a lot of great mail and messages from kids around the world (mine included!).  He knew most kids were pretty in tune with their parent’s cell phone activity, so he was really interested in sending out some messages out to the kids too!

Unfortunately, sending out messages to millions of kids from the North Pole is a lot harder then just sending a text on your phone!  Since I had a degree in software engineering, Santa came to me for help, and TextsFromSanta was born!

Featured post

KickStarter!?!?!

As TextsFromSanta has been growing and growing, I have heard about the crowd funding site KickStarter a lot from my friends and people online.  I’ve joined the site and have had a lot of fun watching other entrepreneurs present their awesome ideas and get funded (you should totally check it out!!)  I’ve ended donated to a few – like an adorable mustache book for the kiddies (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1725028632/larry-and-the-mustache) – c’mon get funded!!

I don’t think I’ve mentioned before but “TextsFromSanta” is actually a new name for me this year.  Up until this year I have been running texts from Santa from the domain name SantasTexts.com.  Changing the domain name has come about during my recent push to expand TextsFromSanta to reach as many kids as possible!  With this re-branding comes a lot of enhancements and changes to the system’s back-end.  And a lot of modifications I’d love to do cost a bit of money to do so!!

So I’ve decided to start a KickStarter project!!  I’m currently working on setting up the page and all the information that goes into a presentation like this.  This morning I created a video introducing myself to the world.  Wow, is that a hard thing to do!!  I didn’t realize how difficult it is to record yourself – even for the short video that I did.  I’m sure this is the case normally, but I imagine it was even more so to do in my house.

Imagine setting up a camera and trying to talk earnestly with 5 boys and 2 dogs in the house!  🙂  Every time I thought I had an OK take, a dog would bark or a child would want a snack.  Not that I thought you guys would mind seeing that – but it was totally distracting to me!  So how did it finally get done?

As I was taking one of my last effort takes, one of the youngest boys – my son’s friend Jack – came over and plopped himself on my lap.  At this point I had given up, so I was content to snuggle with the little guy.  He was so interested in looking at the camera, that I thought, why not?  So I recorded with him right on my lap smiling at the camera – and can you believe it!?  There was complete silence in the background!!

So I’m taking it!!!  I hope people enjoy watching it, and hey – at least they get to see adorable little Jack!!!  Hugging him also gave me something to do with my hands, which I always tend to talk with.  Thanks Jack!

Kickstarter Video
My little video helper – thanks Jack!

A Santa Selfie

My kids totally love their texts from Santa each day.  More then I ever imagined they would.  It was just enough involvement for their attention span that kept it exciting each day.   But while I was happy with their reactions to their texts, I was blown away by their reactions to the selfie that Santa sent them!

Now all kids know that Santa visits their home Christmas Eve.  The evidence is there in the presents beneath their tree, or the goodies in their stockings!  But after a whole month of communicating with the big guy, when my boys got a photo on Christmas morning from Santa of a selfie of Santa in OUR HOUSE from his visit the night before, there was almost (almost!!!) a moment of complete silence.

This was like the cream of the crop..  the icing on the cake..  the extra candy cane in the stocking!!!  They love this so much, that I am working on incorporating a lot more of that kind of personalization into TextsFromSanta.  Santa and I have a lot of great ideas.  They are going to take a lot of effort to build into the system, but I know we can do it.  I’m game, Santa’s game, and I know that my kids sure are!!!

santa at my house
Santa visiting my fireplace!

How does it work?

When Santa got his new phone he was really excited and wanted to start texting everyone right away!  But there were a few problems!  First, even with the help of all his elves, it was a big task to get all the people on the good list into his phone contact list.  Then he realized that his phone’s storage capacity was not large enough to fit the thousands of good children he wanted to message!  And finally, it because evident that sending a message from the North Pole was pretty hard – the reception there is pretty weak since it is the Northernmost point on the Earth!!

I told Santa to let his Elves focus on getting all the toys for Christmas done (my boys had a long wish list!) and set to work trying to figure out how to build something that would help.  I gathered together a bunch of strong servers and large capacity databases and set them up to be able to store all of the contact information necessary.  Then, since the Elves were already busy, I created a website to enlist the help of all the parents and grandparents around the country (they are always so helpful!).  So now parents and grandparents can come to the website textsfromsanta.com and enter in the contact information that Santa needs, and the Elves can keep on working!

Next I worked on making sure the system had strong enough processing power to be able to send to all the people on the good list that Santa would like to send messages to.  It had to be a big processor with a lot of power to do that!  Especially when Santa wants to send photos!  (He is becoming quite the selfie fanatic!)  With this all completed, Santa now has the ability to use this system to send his messages!  It’s a great thing!

Santa has been experimenting with my system over the past couple years, and is having a blast with it.  He is pretty chatty in December, despite how busy the month is for him.  He loves to share stories of what happened that day – there’s a lot more going on there then just making toys!  It is also a super fun way to count down to Christmas.  Mrs. Claus jumps in everyone once in a while to say hello too – and make up fun holiday games to play!

I’m still working on the system to keep making it better and better!  I’d love to hear any feedback and I hope everyone enjoys being able to hear from Santa!

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