I've been using the power of Santa Claus for a few weeks now, and things are looking good.
He keeps me from raising my voice. He keeps my kids on their best behaviour. His spectre over the day-to-day insanity that is part and parcel of raising many kids is one that modifies the craziness, if only for a short period of time.
"He sees you when your sleeping. He knows when you're awake. He knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake."
It is this mantra that evokes perhaps just a wee bit less whining, a touch more compliance and general good behaviour during the holiday season. Santa's a joy not only for kids, but for their parents as well. Santa, I toast you.
The fact that it is, for once, not mom and dad who are the final arbiters of whether or not a certain boy or girl has been good or bad, is a relief. It takes a load off, really. It doesn't matter if I agree or not that my kids' behaviors are unacceptable, it's Santa, after all, who is watching and taking notes. Actually, he's making a list and checking it twice, to be precise.
For maximum effectiveness, the use of Santa and his omnipresence is good for the window directly following Halloween until December 25 though the mention of Santa reaches it's peak efficacy between December 10th and 24th - the final two weeks before the big day. During this time, I enjoy the increased attentiveness, dearth of meltdowns and general calm that precedes Christmas day. OK, perhaps not calm, but less craziness, that's for sure. Even the littlest ones understand that Santa sees all, knows all and hears all, and aggregates such information in a final spreadsheet to determine who is and is not on the "good" or "bad" list. Funny how the young kids learn so early that this jolly man in a red velvet suit delivers presents to children around the world -- children who have been good, and who have been listening to their parents.
Other parenting tactics aside, the introduction of the all-knowing, all-seeing man in the bright red suit casts a whole new level of compliance that is savoured for that brief period leading up to Christmas. As it only comes once a year, it's definitely something to be savoured. Like Beaujolais.
Though there is some sarcasm that may be detected in this article, Santa Claus' presence is being regularly evoked these days, for the sake of my sanity. Mother of the year I'm not. What on earth will I do on December 26?
You think you should get rewarded just for venturing out during the holidays, right? So does Shopkick. Get points, or “kicks,” by walking into your favorite stores. (Free for <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/shopkick/id383298204?mt=8">iPhone</a> and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.shopkick.app&hl=en">Android</a>.)
Sure, there are other barcode-scanning apps out there to save you money. But Shop Savvy is fast, extensive and lets you add your own. Don’t overthink this one. (Free for <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/shopsavvy-barcode-scanner/id338828953?mt=8">iPhone</a>, <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.biggu.shopsavvy&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImNvbS5iaWdndS5zaG9wc2F2dnkiXQ..">Android</a> and <a href="http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/shopsavvy/b3e6f4f6-240d-e011-9264-00237de2db9e">Windows</a>.)
This app works the way your brain does. Snap a photo of any media product—book cover, DVD, etc.—and it looks up the online and in-person prices and reviews. (Free for <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/snaptell/id291920403?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4">iPhone</a> and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.snaptell.mobile.client.android&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsImNvbS5zbmFwdGVsbC5tb2JpbGUuY2xpZW50LmFuZHJvaWQiXQ..">Android</a>.)
Smoopa randomly rewards users at local shops for comparison shopping with their scanner. In other words, you can shop local and still save. (Free for <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/smoopa-price-scanner/id517306231?mt=8">iPhone</a> and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.smoopa.client.android&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsImNvbS5zbW9vcGEuY2xpZW50LmFuZHJvaWQiXQ..">Android</a>.)
Shop with your values. Search a product’s impact on the earth, your health, and society, just by using the scanner. Think toys, beauty products and clothing. (Free for <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/goodguide/id294447660?mt=8">iPhone</a> and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.goodguide.android.app&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsImNvbS5nb29kZ3VpZGUuYW5kcm9pZC5hcHAiXQ..">Android</a>.)
The mother of all luxury flash sale sites has a mobile app that will not only help you wrap up holiday shopping, but also tempt you to play Santa for yourself. (Free for <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gilt-on-the-go/id331804452?mt=8">iPhone</a>, <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gilt-for-ipad/id363337072?mt=8">iPad</a>, <a href="http://www.gilt.com/apps/android">Android</a> and Blackberry.)
The site that made personal finance easy to track and nice to look at has gone mobile. Don’t lose sight of that vacation you want next year in the middle of your holiday shopping bonanza. (Free for<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/US/app/id568189808?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4"> iPhone</a>.)
Google’s digital payment platform lets Android users pay with their phone, store gift cards, and keep track of loyalty cards. Christmas in the Cloud, here we come. (Free for <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.walletnfcrel&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImNvbS5nb29nbGUuYW5kcm9pZC5hcHBzLndhbGxldG5mY3JlbCJd">Android</a>.)
Your time is precious during the holidays. Check this crowdsourced geolocation app for wait times at restaurants, stores, and bars before you go, and save time--and your sanity. (Free for <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/US/app/id422776889?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4">iPhone</a> and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.localmind&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImNvbS5sb2NhbG1pbmQiXQ..">Android</a>.)
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