I hear in some places, you have to book the best mall Santa in October to get a word in with the jolly guy, and he still might get your kid’s name wrong leading to a public freak-out. (It’s happened to us all!)

But now, thanks to the wonders of technology, your inbox is the best place to catch the ear of Jolly Old St. Nick.

Register at Portable North Pole, and you can send a message from Santa Claus to a toddler, older child, or even an adult. After navigating an extensive online questionnaire that even mentions siblings, chores, and the most coveted gift on your child’s list, PNP creates a high quality video of Santa speaking directly to your child.

You’ll get a quick tour of the North Pole hot spots, hear a little about your child’s strengths and areas for improvement, and even see your child’s name, right there in Santa’s book. And if your kid’s name isn’t as exotic as mine, Santa even says it. Neato.

The best part of all? Sending messages through Portable North Pole is free. If you want a DVD keepsake, they’ll make one for a small charge. But otherwise, it’s the most personal Santa experience I’ve found without ending up on the local Scared of Santa photo gallery.

It’s also a great alternative for kids who can’t handle the pressure of waiting in line in scratchy tights to talk to a stranger in a fake beard. And I know, because I was one of them. –Delilah

Make your own free Santa video at Portable North Pole.