Top 10 Christmas websites to excite kids of all ages this festive season

From tracking Rudolph across the globe to cooking festive treats and sing-along carols, there is a Christmas website to suit every child — and excited grown-up, says Andrea Mara

WITH most of us online now in one way or another, it’s not surprising that Santa has his own website too. Well, quite a number of websites actually, and some are better than others.

So, whether you want baking, colouring, stories, songs, or personalised messages from Santa, here, in no particular order, we give you the top 10 Christmas websites for kids:

Northpole.com

Don’t be put off by less-than-amazing graphics, this site is actually very, very good. There are decent Christmas crafts and recipes, educational worksheets, stories, games, and colouring pages.

As a really nice touch, you can make and print personalised Christmas stories. There’s no need to register and, while there is a gift shop, all other activities are free.

I really liked this site — hours of fun for kids on a rainy afternoon.

Rating: 9

Santasgoodlist.org

Here, your children answer a series of questions to find out if they’re on Santa’s good list. You need to provide an email address to get an access code, then an elf, who types as you watch, asks a series of questions.

I tested this thoroughly and, no matter how badly behaved I claimed to be, there’s the ‘I promise to do my best’ button at the end, which ensures that, of course, everyone ends up on the nice list.

For children of reading age, this will distract for quite a long time, partly because the elf types very slowly.

There are no costs, though I was offered the chance to buy a personalised telegram at the end.

Rating: 7

WhyChristmas.com

Want to know why we have Christmas trees, how mince pies were originally made, or the story behind the nativity? Then, this is the site for you.

There are pages of clickable links explaining Christmas traditions, and how Christmas is celebrated in different countries around the world. There are plenty of activities and, unlike other sites, it’s an ad-free zone.

It was created by a self-professed ‘Christmas nut’, and it’s full of fabulous information, with good graphics.

If your children regularly ask why we do the things we do, they’ll love this. Highly recommended, this was one of my favourites.

Rating: 9

PortableNorthPole.com

Setting the benchmark, many parents will be familiar with the gorgeous, personalised video messages from Santa on PNP.

The quality is excellent, and Santa is very authentic — kind and gentle and really quite magical. The video messages are fully customisable and completely free (with optional paid versions too.)

It’s been on the go since 2008 and there have been over 100 million messages produced. It’s a perennial favourite and for good reason.

Rating: 10

NoradSanta.org

The original and still arguably the best, this Santa tracker is a firm favourite with kids and parents every December.

NORAD (The North American Aerospace Defense Command) team up with Google to track Santa’s progress around the world on Christmas Eve, adding huge excitement to the countdown for small children everywhere.

It feels very real and it’s excellent for propelling children up the stairs to bed on that all-important night.

Rating: 10

The-North-Pole.com

This is, essentially, Christmas karaoke. Skip past the home page, and go to ‘sing-along carols’, where you’ll find around 50 well-known Christmas songs. Click on each one to see the lyrics and hear the music.

There are lots of ads on this site and I found a few little glitches with lyrics not showing up, but if your kids like blasting out the Christmas songs, they’ll love this.

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself singing along, too.

Rating: 7

Christmas-cookies.com

For Christmas baking recipes, this site is a one-stop shop — 570, in fact. With everything from butterscotch gingerbread people to candy cane cookies to pumpkin praline pie, you’re sure to find something you like.

It’s not the prettiest baking site, but it’s simple to use and the recipes are easy to follow.

Just don’t browse if you’re hungry.

Rating: 7

Northpoletimes.com

The graphics on this newspaper-themed site are relatively good and it’s easy to use. There’s a naughty or nice list with a light touch — children are advised to work on tooth brushing “because just wetting the brush isn’t brushing!”

There are games, crafts, recipes and printable colouring pages, and you can exchange emails with Santa.

While this site doesn’t have as wide a range of crafts and games as some of the others, it’s very simple to use, and refreshingly, isn’t covered in ads.

Rating: 7

AllChristmas.co.uk

If you’ve had your fill of ad-heavy, candy-striped websites and manic dancing elves, take some time out with AllChristmas.co.uk.

There are stories, carol lyrics, poems and quotes and, while there isn’t a huge volume of activities, it’s a gentle, soothing site with very pretty images — something to calm the kids down before bedtime.

Rating: 7

EmailSanta.com

Enter a few details and a wish-list, and get a personalised email back from Santa.

It’s available onscreen, so no need to provide an email address, and there are no direct costs, though there’s a discreet nudge to send Santa a “buck or two” at the very end of the process.

This is a good-looking site, with games, colouring pages and jokes, and a naughty or nice list that’s more comprehensive than most.

This was the only site that didn’t find a way to get me on the nice list, despite how I answered the questions — I was told I’m a “little stinker”, in the nicest possible way, of course.

Rating: 10

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