Whether your house has been decorated since Halloween ended or you’re just now trimming the tree, it’s the Christmas season. That means it’s time to look at your Santa tracker. And, in case you don’t have time to visit the big guy in person (or you don’t want to, because germs), you can actually call Santa. Yes, really!

The same way kids Facetime grandparents or far-away loved ones, they can also talk to the man in red! Thanks to the magic of technology, there are a variety of ways to call Santa, get a video from Santa or even text him. There are a variety of apps and websites available that allow your little ones to place a call to the North Pole and keep the magic alive.

4 ways to call Santa Claus on a budget!

1. Alexa

If you own an Amazon Echo, did you know you can ask Alexa to place a call to Santa? I did this myself last night to test it out, and it was actually pretty cute. My daughter heard his voice booming through our kitchen and her eyes grew wide as she asked, “Wait, is that the real Santa?!” The best part is, you can “call” him anytime you want.

2. The OG Santa Hotline

Oh yes, there’s a Santa hotline. Remember making phone calls? No texting, no FaceTime. Just a good, old-fashioned chat sesh. Well, you can enjoy one of those nostalgic voice chats with Santa by calling his hotline at +1 (605) 313-4000.

3. Google Assistant

With Google Home, you or your child can say, “Hey Google, call Santa,” and the assistant will launch an interactive experience that involves both the elves and Santa. If you own a Google Assistance device with screens, you can track Santa’s location by saying, “Hey Google, bring up the Santa Tracker.”

4. Santa Dialer

Parents can go on this site, input the number they want to receive a call on and choose a special message for their little one. Plus, you get to choose if you want Santa or an elf calling. If your child needs a little reminder to help them stay away from the “naughty list” then a special phone call just might do the trick! There are four sample messages to choose from. You can send one free call or set up scheduled premium calls at 6 cents per call.

4 of the best (paid) apps and sites to call Santa Claus

1. Portable North Pole (PNP)

Your little one can receive a personal video call from Santa—he’ll say their names and touch on what they want on their wish list. Two years ago, the PNP experience came with a Santa letter-writing kit I purchased. The video was absolutely magical and my daughter loved it. You can download it on the App Store or Google Play.

2. Message from Santa app

You can place a call directly to Santa or have Santa call you with this app! Try to reach Santa on his mobile, or use his automated voicemail system to report “naughty” kids, forward the wishlist of nice kids and more. Or you can tell Santa a bit about your child, and he will be happy to phone them with a holiday message just for them. You can download this app from the App Store or Google Play.

3. Cameo

You don’t have to purchase a special Santa-calling app to get the big guy on the horn. You can go right to Cameo (which, let’s be honest, you already have on your phone anyway) and select from a variety of St. Nicks and choose one to send a personalized greeting to your kids. I did this last year, and it was worth every penny to watch my two pandemic-lonely kids hear a message just for them (with no time limit). Prices vary with each Santa, and you’ll have just as much fun finding one as your kids will when they get their video.

4. TalktoSanta.com

Schedule a live chat with Santa! A live video chat is more expensive than just a phone call (you get to see his face after all!) but if you arrange a group call then your child can talk to Santa with their friends and you can organize to split the fee amongst the parents.

A version of this post was published November 30, 2021. It has been updated.