I'm not celebrating Christmas early. I feel like I've given that disclaimer a lot lately. Instead, I'm getting my preparations started, and I'm sharing my information now so you can enjoy some of the fun I'm discovering, as well. Another item I discovered for Christmas this year that I absolutely fell in love with is Your Santa Story. Santa is magic, and this is proof!
Your Santa Story is a new service that helps keep the magic alive. And in our house, we are going to start to need to do all we can to keep the magic alive. We attend public school, and Mister Man is in third grade this year... and Little Miss has some friends in second grade with plenty of older siblings. I can't wait for them to watch our DVD Christmas morning.
What is it? It's a personalized Santa story for your family and your family alone. For that reason, there are limited quantities available, as Santa has to video each on individually. The DVDs are then FedExed to your house to ensure you have them in plenty of time before the big morning. The DVDs are easy to make by answering a few questions online, and the script read by Santa is a perfect fit for your family, from names of your pets to a special message for each child from Santa.
I love that there are so many neat touches included to make it even more real. I love that Santa can create a DVD specifically for families with members in the military or ASL or Spanish-speaking. And for those serving in the military away from home? A second version of the DVD will be emailed to the loved on serving so they can experience the magic, too. Because Little Miss is in a Spanish immersion program, we chose to have our DVD include Spanish language in Santa's message to her - and it was amazing, a little more scripted and less natural sounding, but amazing nonetheless.
The questions on the form to personalize the DVD are easy to answer and straightforward. There is a maximum of five children, and I know a few families with more than six. I would love to see that increased just a little. I appreciate that when filling in names, you are asked to provide the pronunciation of the names to ensure everything is right - another of those touches I was mentioning. Santa also directs a short message to each child. For us, he congratulated Mister Man on his tae kwon do promotion and noted that he was in a new school this year. Little Miss's message includes a comment about her hard work at gymnastics and her Halloween costume - because Santa knows these things!
Santa of course knows about our pets - and you can specify what they are, so anyone who has a hermit crab isn't stuck with no option to choose. Again, the limit is five pets, but most people have no more than five. I hope. You also clarify you family's traditions - do you leave food for Santa or his reindeer? If so, what is it? And of course, you specify where the last gift will be left for your kids to go hunting once the DVD ends - another magical surprise.
Once you've completed these few fields, you have the opportunity to review the script for your DVD to ensure that what you wrote makes sense and flows properly. If there are any corrections (I had to make a couple), it's easy to go back and edit the fields. Each DVD is $29.95, and shipping is a flat rate of $5.95.
When our package arrived, it included not just the DVD but Santa's sleigh license (a super cute touch) and a brochure with cut out cards including three different scenarios.
I will admit that it took me a moment to figure out the scenarios. As part of the DVD creation, you choose where the last present will be located for your kids to find after they've watched the DVD (ours will be under our bed, for example), and I initially thought that was what these scenarios referred to. It finally dawned on me that these cards are to let children know that there is a DVD waiting for them, not that this referred to the last present's hiding place. I am planning to cut out the thank you for the cookies note to place on the empty cookie plate and put our DVD in the mailbox.
As Santa suggested, we did watch our DVD. We have an amazing Santa, and his Spanish was impeccable. His beard was real, he looked like Santa, and it was a "real" set, not some screen. The video is just over three minutes long, and the first minute or so is a generic introduction of Santa's life - the barn with the reindeer and Santa petting them and so forth. That part was a little slow for me, but I know the wee ones will be fascinated. The rest of it with our personal message? It was beyond cool. I almost want to show the wee ones the video now, but I can't spoil the surprise. How am I going to wait another almost two months?
Tell me this isn't one of the coolest things ever? Once it's over, we'll be putting the DVD into a memory box so we can pull it out in years to come. And next year? We were told that the same Santa(s) will be there and that families will receive the same Santa next year to ensure continuity. Brilliant, no?
I know you want one. If you celebrate Christmas, how can you not? I will admit that I would have added my husband as one of my "kids" and had a special message to him (and maybe me) had I thought of it. That would only add to the fun, right? So guess what. I have one code for a free Your Santa Story DVD to give away. Remember, there are a limited quantity of DVDs that can be made this year, so if you win, get yours made quickly so you don't miss out! And if you don't win? Order soon! This is one surprise that definitely won't work if you procrastinate.
So, are you ready to try to win one? First of all, let me stress that you must follow all the rules. If you do not follow the rules, your entry will not count!
This contest is open until Thursday November 22 at 7pm CST (yikes, that's Thanksgiving!). I must have a valid way to reach you, so leave me your email address in your comment or be sure your profile has your email address visible. No duplicate comments will count. This giveaway is open to US residents age 18 and older. Winners will be selected via random.org and must respond within 24 hours of being notified by me or I will select a new winner.
Mandatory Entry: Tell me - what is your favorite Santa tradition?
Bonus Entries (leave a comment for each entry - if you put it all in one comment, I'll count it as one entry):
1) Earn one additional entry for following me on Twitter, then tweeting this contest with the following tweet: Make the magic of Santa come alive with a personalized DVD giveaway from @YourSantaStory and @HonestAndTruly. http://bit.ly/Uyy8xd (leave a link to your tweet as your comment and make sure you do all the steps!)
2) Earn one additional entry by following this review blog publicly via Google Friend Connect.
3) Earn one additional entry by following my “regular” blog Honest & Truly! publicly via Google Friend Connect.
4) Earn one additional entry by liking Honest & Truly! on Facebook. (Yay, it's legal again, so long as you know you have to leave a comment here to enter and that simply liking me isn't the entry, along with acknowledging the fact that Facebook has nothing to do with this giveaway whatsoever.
5) Earn an additional entry by putting me in your Google Plus circle. Am I already in your G+ circle? No problem - just leave a comment letting me know that you've added me or already have me there.
In the interest of full disclosure, I was provided with a Your Santa Story DVD personalized to my family to facilitate this review. I received no other compensation, and all opinions are my own.