December 17, 2010 at 11:57 PM CST - Updated June 23 at 3:20 AM
(RNN) - Santa might be jolly ol' St. Nick, but he's no old fogey.
With the proliferation of smart phones, Facebook, Twitter and a host of other digital networking options, even Santa has gone high-tech for the holidays.
And if you have little children, it's easier than ever to help them write that letter to Santa - and even get a reply.
Postcards from Santa
Thanks to the Postcards from Santa app, kids can now receive that long-awaited letter from Santa.
With this app, parents can select from a number of images, type a personalized message to their child or select a pre-written message from Santa. A few days later, a postcard addressed to the child arrives in the mail.
Mom Jessica Crispo downloaded the app and sent a card to her 4-year-old son, Kelvin.
"He was really excited. He thought Santa knew his name and sent it personally," she said. "It left a big impression on him that Santa knew his name.
"When he got the card, it made it real to him that Santa was really there, was really watching and that he's coming to his town. He said 'Wow he's coming here.' He made me read it to him every night for the next week. We read it to him constantly."
Matt Brezina, the founder of the company that developed the app, said they've shipped postcards all over the world. While it's the first year the app has been available, he says the response they've received ensures it will be around for many Christmases to come.
"My mom uses an Android and she sent one to her neighbor who has a young daughter," Brezina said."[The daughter] says it might be her favorite gift of the year. She keeps saying, 'The elf took this picture of Santa for me.'"
The app is free and is available on the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android. The postcards cost $1.99 each, which includes printing and postage. If you're sending multiple postcards, the premium app is $3.99, which includes two free postcards and 99-cent postcards thereafter.
Since the post office, not Santa's sleigh, delivers the cards, delivery takes a few days. Brezina says it's best to order by Dec. 18 to ensure a pre-Christmas delivery.
"After that day, you can say 'Hey, Santa enjoyed visiting your house. Your room's messy, keep it clean,' but we warn people it doesn't come instantly," he said.
LOL'ing with Santa
While he won't text while driving his sleigh, even Santa thinks it's gr8 2 txt.
AT&T customers can text "Santa" to 1224 between now and Dec. 24 to receive a holiday message from jolly ol' St. Nick.
"Santa is recognized for keeping many traditions - like enjoying milk and cookies - but last year, he quickly saw the benefits of texting," said Susan Bean with AT&T. "Santa immediately agreed it was a perfect way to connect with today's tech-savvy believers.
In the spirit of Christmas, the conversation is free … standard texting rates perhaps comp'ed on the North Pole expense account?
Video Messages from Santa
Kids can also receive videos from Santa. By logging onto www.portablenorthpole.tv and answering a few questions, like name and what gift is on the child's wish-list, parents can send a personalized video straight from the jolly one. Parents can even upload a picture of their child to go in Santa's virtual book, which is featured on the video.
"Users just have to answer a few questions and provide photos so that Santa can deliver something unique and personalized to their kids, friends or partners," said Alexandre Berard, founder of the project.
Berard says, so far, Santa has delivered 10 million videos to children all around the world.
To make sure the big guy puts the right gifts under your tree, the Barcode Hero app lets kids send their wish lists directly to Santa.
"When we talked to moms about their holiday shopping, they said 'The problem we have is what to get the kids? and it would be great if there was a better way to solve that problem,'" said Blake Scholl, co-founder of Kima Labs, the company that developed the app.
Available in the iPhone app store, Barcode Hero's "wish list" feature lets kids scan in barcodes of gifts they'd like for Christmas.
Kids can then tell Santa whether they've been naughty or nice, personalize a note to him, even add a picture, then send the letter and their wish list off to the North Pole. Incidentally, mom and dad also get an emailed copy, which they can save for personal reference or pass along to family members who might also need some gift ideas.
"Parents are in complete control of who sees the wish list and the products that are on it," said Seema Kumar, marketing director of Kima Labs. "If you send an email to a grandparent or aunt, the grandparent or the aunt is the only person who sees it."
The app also lets users compare prices of products from store-to-store so grandparents, aunts or any other gift-giver get the best deal on presents.
Not just a holiday app, Barcode Hero is useful year-round for receiving feedback from other users about everyday products, as well as to recommend products to other users.
It won't put you in direct contact with Santa, per say, but it sure can put you and your entire family in the Christmas spirit.
Returning for its fifth Christmas, perhaps the most viral holiday e-card on the web Elf Yourself allows users to upload photos of themselves and up to four friends or family members, which are then superimposed on the body of a dancing elf.
Users can choose from classic elves, surfer elves, disco, country, hip hop and dance party elves and, in a nod to the 1920s dance, Charleston elves. The videos can be sent as an e-card, shared on Facebook, or even purchased on DVD for those who want to relive the glory of elf-hood for years to come.