Some might call him the ultimate deadbeat dad: gone for most of the year then swans in at the last minute, laden with expensive gifts, drinks your best whisky and leaves your home a wreck.
But if you want your kids to share in the magic of Santa (and yet couldn’t cope with those department store queues), don’t sweat the fat suit. Here are three ways you can invite Father Christmas into your home, 21st century style.
1. Get a buzz from the big man with Santa.co.uk
You can book a live call from Father Christmas (£7.99) or a pre-recorded call at half the price, in which he’ll chat with your awe-struck young ‘uns about what they want for Xmas and whether they’re on his naughty or nice list. Calls available from Dec 14-24 to UK, USA, Ireland & Europe.
2. Take a virtual trip to Lapland via Portable North Pole
Score extra cool points with the kiddies via this web site that allows you to create a personalised video message from Santa, delivered all the way from his wintry homeland. It’s totally free and also available as a free app for iPhone, iPod and iPad.
3. Pay for a house call from Rent-a-Santa
Knock knock – who’s there? Pizza? Nope, it’s the world’s favourite postman bearing messages, gifts and sometimes one of his elves. Rent-a-Santa can even hang around to tuck the babes into bed. Costs from £100 in November to £350 (+ elf) up to midnight Christmas Eve. The looks on their faces? Priceless.