Courtney Omell | 

Here's How You Can Snap a Secret Pic of Santa in Your House for FREE

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Christmas is fast approaching — and that means it’s time for a chat with St. Nick. We have some tips on how to call Santa for free this holiday season. Kids can share their Christmas lists directly with the big guy himself. All you have to do is hand over your phone and let them reveal their list, no postage required. Ideally, they’ll chat while you have time to shop before holiday shipping deadlines.

Of course, we’re living in the digital age, and for a fee, kids can have a live video chat with Santa Claus if you prefer. This way they get that face time to share all of their Christmas wishes. Bonus: you can listen in and take notes on their detailed list in case your kids add anything they haven’t already shared with you. A video chat with Santa starts around $34.95 on, but lucky for you, we tracked down all the free ways you can call Santa in 2023. And even how to snap a sneaky pic of him in your own home. . . for free.

And if you do happen to eavesdrop on a gift idea they’ve never mentioned before, check the holiday shipping deadlines to ensure you can get it by Christmas.

Here are all the tips for calling Santa for free and all the details on scheduling a live chat.

For more holiday tips and fun, download The Krazy Coupon Lady app and never miss out this holiday season.


Christmas is almost here — catch a pic of Santa in your home to show your kids (for free!).

Someone looking at the Christmas Tree Shops Facebook page on their phone

Get the free Catch Santa in My House! app for iPhone or Android and grab some photo evidence of the big guy stopping by. This app is completely free and super easy to use. Follow these simple steps to snap a pic for your kids.

  1. Download the Catch Santa in My House! app in the App Store or on Google Play.
  2. Take a picture of your Christmas tree, fireplace, or any other area in your home using the app.
  3. Select a sticker of Santa in the pose you like best. There are free options and premium options for $1.99. (Note: There are some free options in the Premium Sticker collections, so be sure to click on them to view the free ones!)
  4. Insert the Santa sticker into your photo and then Export it to save it to your phone and share with your kids or on social media.

The creators of this app, Capture the Magic, also offer apps to snap pics of the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.


Here’s how to get in touch with Santa for free this year.

santa claus waving to someone on laptop video call


1. Call the Santa Hotline

The Santa Hotline allows kids to hear a brief message from Santa Claus and leave a voicemail with their Christmas wish list. To call Santa for free, dial (605) 313-0691. The Santa Hotline, hosted by, is available all year, and kids can call whenever the mood strikes. The prerecorded message reminds kids that Santa is busy working on toys and that he’ll be visiting good boys and girls at Christmas. Normal carrier rates apply, and you can click here for a list of international numbers and languages.

Related: Make Someone’s Holiday Great with USPS Operation Santa

2. Use Google Home to call Santa.

If you have a Google Home device, you’ve already got Santa on speed dial. Just say, “Hey Google, call Santa,” and your kid’s call will be answered by a busy elf. From there the call will be directed to Santa, where kids can interact by answering his questions to create the perfect Christmas song. Kids can also use Google Home devices to use the Santa tracker and hear Christmas stories, all for free.



3. Call Santa for free with Alexa.

Families with an Alexa device can call Santa for free, too! All you or your kids have to do is say, “Alexa, call Santa” to speak with Kris Kringle himself. Once you ask Alexa to call, it will prompt you to download the “Call Santa” skill.

Once your device has the skill, your kids can sing carols to help Santa’s sleigh fly and even build a snowman with a reindeer. Households with Echo Show devices can also view Santa and company on video, where magical animation brings the winter wonderland to life.

4. Receive a free call from Santa or an elf with ChristmasDialer.

If your kids will get a kick out of getting a call from Santa rather than dialing him up, enter your phone number at Then choose whether you want to hear from Santa or one of his elf sidekicks. Make sure your child is available to answer, as you only get one free call. After your first free call, you can opt to do as many premium calls as you’d like for $0.06 per additional call.

5. Dial 517-HI-SANTA.

Have kids prepare their wish list and talk to Santa for free at (517) 447-2682. Lucky callers who catch Mr. Claus at a good time will get to chat about their wish lists in the moment. But if he’s busy, they’ll get to listen to a prerecorded message and leave a voicemail. It’s a good idea to have Santa lists on hand to read off easily in the message. If kids really want to get in touch with him after leaving a voicemail, you can book a live video chat with Santa. After calling, parents will receive a text message with a 20% discount code offer to book a live video with Santa. Video chats start at $39.95.

6. Download the free Message from Santa app.

While not an actual phone call, the Message from Santa! app (free for iOS and Android) allows kids to “call” Santa’s voicemail and leave a voice message. Kids can also receive calls from him and text Santa to find out if they’ve been naughty or nice. There are also video messages available that parents can personalize. Many of the non-personalized features can be used for free, but in-app purchases are required for some of the more custom features. An internet connection is required for this app to work properly, and there are ads in the free version.



7. Get a free personalized video from Portable North Pole.

Portable North Pole offers one free custom video message for your child. Visit their website, fill out a few details, and upload a photo. Then you’ll receive a minute-long personalized video for your little one from Santa. You can create a full personalized video for free, but they also offer a Magic Pass for $15.99 that gets you unlimited access to premium videos, HD downloads, additional calls and videos from Santa, and more.

8. For a limited time, Belk is getting your kids in touch with Santa for free.

This year, Belk teamed up with to offer one free personalized phone call from Santa. Set up a personalized call with Santa on the Free Call From Santa website. Calls can be made to landlines or you can set it up through the app — available on Android and iOS devices.

9. Prefer an email or text chat? Try

Instead of a call or video chat, your kids can chat with Santa (or elves or even Mrs. Claus!) on a computer or mobile device. All conversations are text-based, so you may need to volunteer your typing fingers to help your kids communicate.

10. Watch a live reindeer cam and hear a story from Santa every night.

Get free access to the official live feed of Santa’s Reindeer cam. See what the reindeer are up to in real-time — just know that sometimes they’re busy doing other things and aren’t always posing for the camera. You can also hear a story from Santa live Monday through Saturday at 8:30 p.m. EST or on Sundays at 5:30 EST.


And here’s where you can get a free photo with Santa in 2023.

two kids next to Santa at Bass Pro Shops

Bass Pro Shops

Visit Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro Shops from Nov. 4 to Dec. 24. Families receive a free 4-by-6-inch photo to take home. Additional photo packages are available for purchase and will be printed instantly at the store. Reservations are required at all locations.


Cabela’s also offers a visit with Santa Claus through Dec. 24. As with Bass Pro Shops, you’ll get a free 4-by-6-inch photo and the option to purchase additional photo packages, printed instantly at the store. Reservations are required at all locations.


Kids can meet St. Nick at flagship Macy’s locations in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Philadelphia. Entrance to the Macy’s Holiday Celebration is free, but photo packages start at $39.99. Your kids can choose between sitting on Santa’s lap or atop a red gift box nearby. You can reserve your spot up to five days in advance.


Petco invited shoppers to celebrate the holiday with a free picture of their pets with Santa. On Saturday, Dec. 9, from 1 to 3 p.m., visitors could take free photos with Santa. Although the 2023 event is over, Petco does this every year! We expect to see it again next year, likely on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2024.


Petco isn’t the only place that offers pet photos with Santa. This weekend, Dec. 16 – 17, PetSmart shoppers can get a photoshoot with their pets and the big guy for free. You can either take the photo yourself on your smartphone, or the store will take one for you and email it directly to you. Plus, guests with the PetSmart app also have access to photo filters to use during the event. You’ll need to book a spot in advance and check in with your Treats email.


From Nov. 3 to Dec. 17, JCPenney Portraits is holding Santa Events at participating locations. While it costs $14.99 per person, JCP Rewards members can get the fee waived and do a photo shoot for free. After your session, you can purchase prints, books, and more at a discount when you use code PC1816176 during checkout. Reserve your spot now or call your local studio to see if they have any free appointments today.


Select Nordstrom locations are offering a holiday breakfast with Santa that includes food, activities, and photos. This event is free for children under 2. Find your local Nordstrom and if there’s still room in the event, you can book your spot now.

Nordstrom also has the option to send a free letter to Santa — either by mail or by email. Download a free letter template and drop letters off at your local Nordstrom store for free.

HERSHEY’S Chocolate World

As if you needed another reason to visit HERSHEY’S Chocolate World. The largest HERSHEY’S candy store has photo ops with Santa through Dec. 24, 2023. See the schedule to plan your visit to meet Santa and get a free photo.

Bryant Park

Between Dec. 15 and 21, 2023, families in the New York City area can head to Bryant Park to take a free photo with Santa. Guests are free to take photos on their smartphones and props are available to use in photos.

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