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Old 05-20-2012, 11:58 PM   #1
Ms. Shuttergirl
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Older kids and Christmas/Santa overseas

We will be away for 5 weeks visiting the US, WDW first and then on to NYC for Christmas. Our DD14 is no longer a believer but has been wise enough never to actually come out and say it. She keeps up the "game" which I am thankful for. My DS10 is still 100% a believer which is amazing to me but I am also thrilled that this is the case. How wonderful for him.

With that said, this is going to make travelling all the way from Australia a tough one. We still need to do a Santa thing however since we won't be returning until 15 January it's a little tough to do the "santa left the big things at home" letter since Christmas will be long gone.

Does anyone have any ideas?

I was thinking gift cards, etc but not sure which shops to get the gift cards from etc. Cash seems to lack a little of the "christmas feel".

I don't think I'll drag their big stockings from home so may purchase some cute Disney ones instead.

There are not big ticket items that are small that the children will be wanting either. DS10 loves lego and I had thought about buying some lego stuff while in Orlando and flattening the boxes and putting the small bags of stuff in little spaces in the cases and then reassembling the boxes once we hit NYC. But since our room is not huge this will be hard to do "on the quiet". So will the Santa stuff.

I would really love any and all advice.
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:38 AM   #2
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What do you mean?!? I'm still a believer!!! Santa still comes to me, and I hope he never stops!

So has Santa sent letters to the kids before? Would a letter explaining that he feels they would enjoy the shopping more then getting the gifts make sense? And that's why he's done gift cards?

I love presents, and don't go much on gift cards etc. opening presents is so exciting on Christmas morning, and I would be heart broken to see a small stocking, or a flat one

I'm not helping much I know... Are you taking the presents from yourself over there? Or are you just buying everything when you get there? Just as an idea, make sure if you're buying something from yourself for the kids and something from santa from the same store and take advantage of their gift wrapping, ask them to use different paper for each gift.
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:48 AM   #3
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Maybe you could buy some small Lego item here and order an FAO Schwarz gift voucher to put with it - a card from Santa saying the gift voucher is for him to spend on Lego there? Then you can get rid of the packaging after he picks what he wants?

What about handheld games? When my DS was that age we were travelling with his PSP or Nintendo DS and he ALWAYS wanted us to find a game store so he could buy a new game for them? You can't use American Xbox or Wii games on our systems but the handheld games are fine ( and usually very cheap! ) They aren't bulky, which is handy. There are heaps of Gamestop stores all over the country and you can buy digital gift certificates which can be redeemed in any store. If he's travelling with a PSP or a Nintendo DS he'd be able to play the games straight away too.

I think it's great that he still believes in Santa.

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Old 05-21-2012, 01:14 AM   #4
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Santa, just like the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Tag Fairy and the Great Big Pumpkin Eater, is real!!! And nothing you say on this thread will make me think otherwise!

Shuttergirl - DS is young for such a short period of time. I would be tempted to leave a big present at home (by a trusted family member) for him to come home to. And then get a voucher or an 'experience' that Santa can drop off at your hotel in NYC so that he can also get an American present. Santa can easily write a letter stating this.

Is he into remote cars? Any possibility of Santa swinging a Ridemakerz for Christmas?
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Old 05-21-2012, 01:17 AM   #5
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What buying something (either online or in person when alone) and having it shipped to the hotel where you'll be for christmas?
That way you don't run the risk of the kids seeing it before you arrive in NYC or having to schlep it around Orlando.
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:51 AM   #6
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Here was I thinking Lego isn't too big once its out of its box so doable. I like Princess in Oz and Sugarglider's suggestions. NB You all have to have something to open or its not Xmas! but for your son even if it is several smaller gifts (incl some Lego) and a bigger one left at home because Santa knows you are away and it would be too hard to carry. Having it delivered saves the worry of it being accidently discovered en route or trying to secretly buy os. My daughter had her 6th Xmas os but we spent Xmas itself with rellies so it was a mix of small things I snuck with us and some my rellies bought over there for me-and we just managed to stuff in all in for the trip home though I deliberately took less stuff knowing what I would have to fit in. (That was the year all she wanted was a soft toy unicorn and did any shop have a unicorn for sale-anywhere? no easy internet shopping back then either...I paid a ridiculous price for one in a speciality toyshop in Maleny that is no longer there-but she was rapt! and still has it with her "collection").

Love that he still believes or wants to believe in Santa-my neighbour's boy did for ages too. The Xmas he was 10 he rigged up all this "spyware" stuff-obstacle course and light beams with alarms to catch Santa and after everyone had gone to bed crept back down and hid under the stairs with his torch and sleeping bag-and the poor lad crashed fast asleep. His parents knew what he was doing of course and were able to avoid the traps so Santa came and left. He didn't think Santa was real but didn't want to "not" believe it either. I am pretty sure his 11th it was still "hush hush" too.
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:29 AM   #7
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i think it's adorable that both your kids still believe in santa... although to be honest, carlo and i still believe in santa, and as we always spend xmas eve at my parents house... we wake up xmas morning with presents from santa

i think the idea of having some items delivered to the hotel (and i recommend checking with the hotel to make sure that they will hold the parcel & don't charge a fee for it) is the best, logistically.

we also thought it might be cute if on xmas morning, the kids got a photo/video message from grandparents/family/friends back home showing your living room and your xmas tree with the presents under it, showing that santa delivered to your home here in australia as well (these could be some of the more big ticket items) ... just a thought
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:39 AM   #8
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Firstly I just need to clarify something. I am definitely doing presents - from us and from Santa. We will definitely have a little tree and everyone will have gifts. I am the queen of Christmas. I have 4 Christmas trees at home, I decorate every square inch of the inside of my house at Christmas time. We have so many traditions that we follow each year it would blow your mind so I just want to make sure that was understood because I'm not sure I was clear enough about that in my original post.

We have a magical Christmas day planned in NYC. We will definitely leave cookies out for Santa, and read Twas the Night Before Christmas like we always do, the whole thing. I'm just trying to find a way to minimise the size of things .

Quote:
Originally Posted by BecBennett View Post
What do you mean?!? I'm still a believer!!! Santa still comes to me, and I hope he never stops!

So has Santa sent letters to the kids before? Would a letter explaining that he feels they would enjoy the shopping more then getting the gifts make sense? And that's why he's done gift cards?

I love presents, and don't go much on gift cards etc. opening presents is so exciting on Christmas morning, and I would be heart broken to see a small stocking, or a flat one

I'm not helping much I know... Are you taking the presents from yourself over there? Or are you just buying everything when you get there? Just as an idea, make sure if you're buying something from yourself for the kids and something from santa from the same store and take advantage of their gift wrapping, ask them to use different paper for each gift.
We have done letters in the past but not for a few years. I definitely think we could whip a letter up and that would be a nice addition. Oh and I am all about the different paper for Santa presents. I throw so much paper away each year because I never "cross-contaminate" my paper .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andona View Post
Maybe you could buy some small Lego item here and order an FAO Schwarz gift voucher to put with it - a card from Santa saying the gift voucher is for him to spend on Lego there? Then you can get rid of the packaging after he picks what he wants?

What about handheld games? When my DS was that age we were travelling with his PSP or Nintendo DS and he ALWAYS wanted us to find a game store so he could buy a new game for them? You can't use American Xbox or Wii games on our systems but the handheld games are fine ( and usually very cheap! ) They aren't bulky, which is handy. There are heaps of Gamestop stores all over the country and you can buy digital gift certificates which can be redeemed in any store. If he's travelling with a PSP or a Nintendo DS he'd be able to play the games straight away too.

I think it's great that he still believes in Santa.

Andona
Andona - yes the DS games are definitely something I am thinking will be great because they are small. And he loves them. I like the idea of getting a small lego item and then attaching an FAO Scharz gift card to it. Cute.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessInOz View Post
Santa, just like the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Tag Fairy and the Great Big Pumpkin Eater, is real!!! And nothing you say on this thread will make me think otherwise!

Shuttergirl - DS is young for such a short period of time. I would be tempted to leave a big present at home (by a trusted family member) for him to come home to. And then get a voucher or an 'experience' that Santa can drop off at your hotel in NYC so that he can also get an American present. Santa can easily write a letter stating this.

Is he into remote cars? Any possibility of Santa swinging a Ridemakerz for Christmas?
PIO, he's not a big remote car fan but he does love sport sport and sport so I was thinking perhaps some basketball jerseys, some Yankees baseball stuff, etc. We would probably buy him that stuff on the trip anyway so this way we can give it for Christmas .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugarglider View Post
What buying something (either online or in person when alone) and having it shipped to the hotel where you'll be for christmas?
That way you don't run the risk of the kids seeing it before you arrive in NYC or having to schlep it around Orlando.
That's not a bad idea Sugarglider, although it would stress me out if the parcel wasn't there in time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aussie Wendy View Post
Here was I thinking Lego isn't too big once its out of its box so doable. I like Princess in Oz and Sugarglider's suggestions. NB You all have to have something to open or its not Xmas! but for your son even if it is several smaller gifts (incl some Lego) and a bigger one left at home because Santa knows you are away and it would be too hard to carry. Having it delivered saves the worry of it being accidently discovered en route or trying to secretly buy os. My daughter had her 6th Xmas os but we spent Xmas itself with rellies so it was a mix of small things I snuck with us and some my rellies bought over there for me-and we just managed to stuff in all in for the trip home though I deliberately took less stuff knowing what I would have to fit in. (That was the year all she wanted was a soft toy unicorn and did any shop have a unicorn for sale-anywhere? no easy internet shopping back then either...I paid a ridiculous price for one in a speciality toyshop in Maleny that is no longer there-but she was rapt! and still has it with her "collection").

Love that he still believes or wants to believe in Santa-my neighbour's boy did for ages too. The Xmas he was 10 he rigged up all this "spyware" stuff-obstacle course and light beams with alarms to catch Santa and after everyone had gone to bed crept back down and hid under the stairs with his torch and sleeping bag-and the poor lad crashed fast asleep. His parents knew what he was doing of course and were able to avoid the traps so Santa came and left. He didn't think Santa was real but didn't want to "not" believe it either. I am pretty sure his 11th it was still "hush hush" too.
Wendy - we did the flattened lego boxes thing last year. We are pretty good at hiding stuff in the luggage having spent the past 3 Christmas's in a cabin in a dodgy caravan park in Ballarat staying near DH's parents house. It's amazing how small lego actually is out of the box . DS10 is loving the ads for the Avengers lego so that might be an option.

I love that story about your friend's son. So cute. I was thinking that my son was probably not believing anymore to be honest but was keeping quiet. Then just a few weeks back in the lead up to his birthday he asked for something really expensive and I said it would not be happening. He said, well that's fine mum because I'll just ask Santa for it at Christmas time. .
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:40 AM   #9
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Will you have time for shopping in NYC? I would go to the Lego store there or Toys R Us. This will save you having to carry form Orlando. I also think the delivery to the hotel is a good idea.

We noticed that NY and Orlando Lego stores had some different items - you can get the name on a brick in Orlando but not NY.

We have had DD celebrate birthdays away on our past two trips - on this trip we had some smaller 'surprise' items sent from the Disney Store to the resort, and we wrapped some of the items purchased in NY. Wrapping was difficult, she went to the games room at the resort while I madly searched suitcases to find where things had been packed - needless to say I could not find some of the presents we had bought and she ended up being given them back in Australia.
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alicia1506 View Post
i think it's adorable that both your kids still believe in santa... although to be honest, carlo and i still believe in santa, and as we always spend xmas eve at my parents house... we wake up xmas morning with presents from santa

i think the idea of having some items delivered to the hotel (and i recommend checking with the hotel to make sure that they will hold the parcel & don't charge a fee for it) is the best, logistically.

we also thought it might be cute if on xmas morning, the kids got a photo/video message from grandparents/family/friends back home showing your living room and your xmas tree with the presents under it, showing that santa delivered to your home here in australia as well (these could be some of the more big ticket items) ... just a thought
Alicia, I love love love the video idea. Not sure how to make that happen but I might see what I can do about that. We don't have family here in Canberra so I would have to get a friend to organise something for me but I'm sure I could work something out. Great idea.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:06 AM   #11
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I love the idea of Christmas in the USA, it is hard to be away and not have the kids find things. I would be going with the shopping online and delivery.
With the wrapping paper i am a bit of a paper fanatic each kids has there own paper so Santa doesn't have any mishaps on Christmas eve.
and i'll admit just between us i have been known to rewrap presents sent to the kids because the paper didn't match our carefully chosen matching paper that year for under the tree
We love traditions they make the day all that more special, enjoy all of yours in New York
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ms. Shuttergirl View Post
Alicia, I love love love the video idea. Not sure how to make that happen but I might see what I can do about that. We don't have family here in Canberra so I would have to get a friend to organise something for me but I'm sure I could work something out. Great idea.
if you have internet access, maybe it could be a quick skype video call ...

just figured this way the kids would know that they had big presents waiting for them at home, but they would know about it on christmas day, so it was still part of the 'magic' of christmas, but mum & dad don't have to worry about shlepping it all over the USA and back & can pick up some more 'travel friendly' gifts along the way

win/win
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Old 05-22-2012, 01:13 AM   #13
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I love polar express One of my favourite movies!
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Old 05-22-2012, 01:38 AM   #14
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I have done many Christmases away.

I have done many combinations of shopping, taking, leaving at home over the years.

I have usually taken things from home and in the younger years, Santa would leave a sack of toys on his bed for when he got home, he would leave a letter that the rest of his gifts were at home as he knew he was away. In recent years I have tried for small gifts, lots of DS games, XBox games, DVD's, Lego (leave the box over there). I would often buy things under DS's nose! I remember once at DLP at the medieval restaurant, they had their store with large dragons, knights and he loved them. I would send him to one part of the store, then race and dump one of the items over the counter, the lady would wrap them up and put them in a bag. I would then buy one item that he saw, so had to pay and walk out with a bag, but for some reason he never questions why there is so much in the bag. If on the odd rare occasion he would ask, I would say that it was a give for someone back home. We always take gifts home for family and friends so that's not something he would find odd.

I have also had things shipped to the hotel. So if you are wanting Lego, order some online, or sneak out to a store and stock up, then have them delivered to the hotel and hide them in the room. They are awesome in the US with wrapping, so you could also organise wrapping to be done so they are delivered wrapped. Lego is a big gift! SO expensive. The two my DS wants at the moment is a $700 box and a.... wait for it.... $1250 box. $1250 for a box of lego

In more recent years I have taken some from home, in the bottom of the suitcase, with DS being a complete believer, he never did any snooping! But I still have done some shopping.

I have always taken Christmas trees in our luggage (I would take one for each hotel room, we had 4 to 5 depending on which family went), then would leave the trees there so that allowed for more luggage space for shopping.

When you buy and hide things under their nose and they are still complete believers in Santa, I don't think they think anything of it. I know with my DS, he was such a believer (until 11), that the thought of me doing it didn't even enter his mind, so I could do things around him without him thinking it was related to Santa.

PS... My DS is in Canberra at the moment on a school trip. I think they will be FREEZING as it's about 24 degrees here at the moment and when I looked at the temp at 8am this morning it was -1 down there I guess that would not feel too cold for you being used to it
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Old 05-22-2012, 03:19 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WAMUMOF4 View Post
I love the idea of Christmas in the USA, it is hard to be away and not have the kids find things. I would be going with the shopping online and delivery.
With the wrapping paper i am a bit of a paper fanatic each kids has there own paper so Santa doesn't have any mishaps on Christmas eve.
and i'll admit just between us i have been known to rewrap presents sent to the kids because the paper didn't match our carefully chosen matching paper that year for under the tree
We love traditions they make the day all that more special, enjoy all of yours in New York
I love that you are such a crazy wrapping paper fiend. Makes me seem slightly more normal .

Quote:
Originally Posted by alicia1506 View Post
if you have internet access, maybe it could be a quick skype video call ...

just figured this way the kids would know that they had big presents waiting for them at home, but they would know about it on christmas day, so it was still part of the 'magic' of christmas, but mum & dad don't have to worry about shlepping it all over the USA and back & can pick up some more 'travel friendly' gifts along the way

win/win
We will definitely be skyping family on Christmas day but we don't have any family living in our town so can't have them skype from our house. That's okay though, I think we could work it without someone being in the house.
I think a letter or something similar would do the trick. He would be happy with that. With my switched on DD at that age though, we would've needed to be so much smarter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BecBennett View Post
I love polar express One of my favourite movies!
I Love that too and wanted to one day take the kids to the Grand Canyon where they have an actual Polar Express train trip with hot cocoa and the works.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aussietravellers View Post
I have done many Christmases away.

I have done many combinations of shopping, taking, leaving at home over the years.

I have usually taken things from home and in the younger years, Santa would leave a sack of toys on his bed for when he got home, he would leave a letter that the rest of his gifts were at home as he knew he was away. In recent years I have tried for small gifts, lots of DS games, XBox games, DVD's, Lego (leave the box over there). I would often buy things under DS's nose! I remember once at DLP at the medieval restaurant, they had their store with large dragons, knights and he loved them. I would send him to one part of the store, then race and dump one of the items over the counter, the lady would wrap them up and put them in a bag. I would then buy one item that he saw, so had to pay and walk out with a bag, but for some reason he never questions why there is so much in the bag. If on the odd rare occasion he would ask, I would say that it was a give for someone back home. We always take gifts home for family and friends so that's not something he would find odd.

I have also had things shipped to the hotel. So if you are wanting Lego, order some online, or sneak out to a store and stock up, then have them delivered to the hotel and hide them in the room. They are awesome in the US with wrapping, so you could also organise wrapping to be done so they are delivered wrapped. Lego is a big gift! SO expensive. The two my DS wants at the moment is a $700 box and a.... wait for it.... $1250 box. $1250 for a box of lego

In more recent years I have taken some from home, in the bottom of the suitcase, with DS being a complete believer, he never did any snooping! But I still have done some shopping.

I have always taken Christmas trees in our luggage (I would take one for each hotel room, we had 4 to 5 depending on which family went), then would leave the trees there so that allowed for more luggage space for shopping.

When you buy and hide things under their nose and they are still complete believers in Santa, I don't think they think anything of it. I know with my DS, he was such a believer (until 11), that the thought of me doing it didn't even enter his mind, so I could do things around him without him thinking it was related to Santa.

PS... My DS is in Canberra at the moment on a school trip. I think they will be FREEZING as it's about 24 degrees here at the moment and when I looked at the temp at 8am this morning it was -1 down there I guess that would not feel too cold for you being used to it
Sounds like you are the person who's brains I need to pick, so to speak . Do you have any recommendations for good online companies for Lego and the likes?

$750-$1250 for lego - are you serious . Wow Lego is damn expensive. My DS likes it, is not obsessed with it though. A mixture of lego, DS games, some sports wear, some books and some gift cards, maybe a few WWE wrestling things thrown in - and he would be happy.

What sort of Christmas trees do you take along? I thought I might buy some cheap thing once we hit NYC but it might be just as easy to take something. We should be right for decorations because I will be shopping up a crazy Disney storm at Downtown Disney because I believe that the decorations go on sale, like 40% off or something, after the first week of December which fills my heart with joy . So since we go to Orlando first this would work well.

Your son will be freezing here in Canberra at the moment, but mainly just in the mornings. I've been wanting to whinge about the cold but I keep reminding myself that Quebec in January will be sooooooo much colder .
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Sept/Oct 2010 WDW - split stay Wilderness Lodge/POP Century - Trip Report http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2559987

PTR Christmas 2012 - http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2979947
TR WDW/US/Canada Christmas trip 2012 - http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3030550
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