I'm going to tell you right now that my heart will break when my kids stop believing in Santa Claus, even though I know it's a normal part of life. Seeing their eyes light up in excitement every time they see or hear about the Jolly Old Elf is something I live for every holiday season, and I fully intend to keep them believing as long as possible. Not just for me, but for them too.

Townsquare Media
Townsquare Media
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My husband and I take our job as Santa magic creators very seriously. We'll search high and low to find the exact present they asked Santa for. We'll create Santa "footprints' on the floors of our home. We'll half chew the carrots they leave for Santa's reindeer, and we'll devour every one of the cookies in the pile they leave out on Christmas Eve. Now that our oldest daughter is 8 and we probably only have a precious few years left of Santa magic with her, it's time to really step up our game.

5 Ways to Keep Santa Alive In Your Home

If you have young kids, I'm sure you already know that there are apps that will "put" Santa in your home, (even ADT Security has the option to do it on their app), but let's talk about the best ways to keep the Santa magic alive for your kids this year.

I recently did a search for great ways to up the Santa factor in our home, and I came across an article on today.com about tricks for keeping the Christmas spirit alive. Here are the five I am going to try this year...

1. Portable North Pole - This app and website allows parents to send their kids videos from the North Pole. Video messages are free, but you can pay for more personalized messages from Santa, views of his village, activities, and more.

Portable North Pole via Facebook
Portable North Pole via Facebook
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2. Catch A Character App - I can tell you first-hand, this app is great for creating pictures of Santa in your home on Christmas Eve. It also offers options for the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy too!

Catch A Character via Facebook
Catch A Character via Facebook
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3. Naughty and/or Nice Certificates - If your Elf isn't keeping the kids' naughtiness in check, or if you just want certified proof that Santa was watching all their good behavior this year, just search for downloadable/editable Naughty or Nice Certificates on Etsy.

LittlePugPrintables on Etsy
LittlePugPrintables on Etsy
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4. Santa's License - I know my kids would flip out if they awoke Christmas morning to discover Santa accidentally dropped his license in our house and paying the $7.95 fee to get a copy would be totally worth it to see their eyes light up with excitement.

5. Find The Scout Elves App - The forces behind 'Elf On The Shelf' created this fun app filled with fun games, activities, and messages from Santa about how he trains the scout elves that visit our homes every day.

Elf on the Shelf via Facebook
Elf on the Shelf via Facebook
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28 Illinois Elf On The Shelf Ideas You Should Totally Steal

Elves have been busy the last couple weeks and now ere in the home stretch to Christmas. Is your creativity stretched to its limit? These ideas will help.

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Snowman's Reindeer Farm is a prime spot to experience the magic of Christmas in Illinois.