It’s that time of year again and we are back with the latest addition to our fantastic family tradition!  Our Christmas Time Capsule Wreath.  Here we go!  

After one of the most unusual years in our lives in 2020, the Santa Family found our footing and decided we were going to live our lives to the fullest in 2021.  2021 was a year of travel for us.  We did what we needed to do to keep everyone safe and got out there and mixed it up.

In December of 2020 I created the Santa Dad and 2021 was the year I, Santa Mom, and the Santa Sisters fully introduced ourselves and began sharing our adventures with the world.  Santa Dad is everywhere … Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook … and we took all of you wonderful people with us every time we got into some new Christmas-colored fun.  And there was a lot of it!  Beach trips, Christmas in July, all the holidays throughout the year, and as December rolled around we really cranked things up a notch with our first annual Christmas Across Georgia tour, plus Twinkle Reels!  So, when it was time to think about what this year’s family time capsule wreath might look like, we had plenty of options and selected the very best memories that we wanted it to whisper to us during future Christmas seasons. 

To begin the build, I asked the girls to think back on the year and tell me what stood out to them the most . . . things they enjoyed, what they were most proud of accomplishing . . . whatever it was that really defined their daily lives.  It didn’t take long and we knew what had to be on this year’s wreath so all that was left was to get to building.

Innocence.  Energy.  Passion.  Creativity.  Excitement.  Together.  Love.  Home.  Safety.  The Santa Dad , of course.  These were the key words we felt best captured our lives over the past year.

The girls were were still thrilled with how much we had been able to be together.  As a parent and a dad, I was so thankful that they felt safe, and loved.  We were still living with the threat of the virus every day, but the girls had a clear understanding of what was happening and what we were doing to keep all of us safe.  The Santa Sisters (at ages 6 and 4 at Christmas) continued to amaze us at how resilient they are and how they often are the seemingly infinite source of strength and motivation for Santa Mom and myself.  These powerful examples, coupled with a heaping helping of emotion, certainly had a heavy hand in the final look of the wreath.

watch:  creating our 2021 christmas time capsule wreath

We had a lot of fun building out this year’s Christmas Time Capsule Wreath. 

The bones

This year we went with a snow white wreath to capture the innocence of our girls, while simultaneously conveying the cold clarity that 2021 provided us in so many ways. 



Given each year’s wreath has a specific theme we want to express, the colors we chose to use in this project are always of vital importance.


The color red was back in our family wreath design for 2021. A traditional color of the season, red stars once again as it symbolizes the energy of our year.

Spurred on by the ideals of the Santa Dad, red represents the positivity, confidence, motivation, passion, and desire that was evident in everything we did in the past year.  Every adventure, every challenge, every opportunity 2021 afforded us, all of it could be described by these words.

With all of this in mind as we looked back on the year, the power of red was once again the perfect accent to our family wreath. 



Representing purity and innocence, as a color white also promotes self-reflection.  A true balance of all colors, white was the perfect starting point for our 2021 wreath. 

The simplicity of white represented our refreshed notions of who we are, what matters, and why we do the things we do.  The clarity it brings simplified and balanced our view of the world.  It also provided a clean slate.  One upon which we could create and document our story.  

Without a doubt, white was the only option for our 2021 Christmas Time Capsule Wreath.


Silver is a color that inspires and illuminates, while simultaneously acting a calming and restorative force.  Along with its dynamic properties, silver encompassed the spectrum of our family’s collective emotions over the past year. 

Whether centering our family’s emotional health and learning, illuminating our path forward, or shining brilliantly around our Santa Dad adventures, silver was a dynamic representation of our journey. 


Our 2021 Time Capsule Wreath is crowned with a shimmering pair of Mickey Mouse ears to commemorate the girl’s first visit to Disney World, but they truly represent much more.  This wreath will shine Christmas season after Christmas season to remind us of the year we “opted in” as a family and continued to write our amazing story. 

2020 was so very difficult for all of us, and though the challenges of the world are still very much present, 2021 marked a change in trajectory for our family and this beautiful keepsake captures the journey wonderfully.  

We believe in living for what matters and being truly grateful for those who choose to travel by your side.   We believe in seeing the world for what it is, but also actively seeking all that it could be.  We believe in living a life worth sharing and spreading beauty, truth, and light in the world. 

We are thankful for the blessing of time which allowed us to recognize the things in this life that are truly important, and gain an understanding of why along the way. Why we need each other. Why we work and play so hard. Why we must take time to appreciate the daily gifts we all are guilty of occasionally taking for granted.

We choose to celebrate a year that while still challenging us, encouraged us to grow. Our 2021 family wreath shines as a testament to our shared story and is already beloved.  I am most proud of the fact that in a year that offered relief in fits and starts and left so many feeling calloused and raw, my daughters inspired us and led us to remain open, vulnerable, and positive.  As we slingshot into 2022, we are energized, feeling powerful, and thrilled to continue writing the next chapter in our beautiful story. 


Keep ChristmasChristmas treewell all year ‘round, friends!

Santa Dad



I’m Santa DAd

Click the image for the Official Batman Day 2021 Checklist

Batman and me.  Me and Batman.  It’s a relationship, more like a love affair, that really bloomed later in my life.  I’ve loved the Dark Knight since I was a teenager, but I’ve really gotten close to the iconic figure in the cape and cowl in my 40s.  It’s around this age you hear talk of folks experiencing a mid-life crisis, which would be really funny in this context.  I was talking with Mrs. Santa Dad the other day and mentioned that if that’s what’s going on with me, this has to be the coolest mid-life crisis in the history of man.  

During this same period of my story, I have fully embraced my parallel persona as the Santa Dad.  During 2020, the year that just wouldn’t quit delivering devastating and painful blow after devastating and painful blow to so many, I felt like the world needed a few more smiles and a bit more focus on the good things in life.  So, I decided I wanted to do my part and attempt to bring a little more happy into the world by celebrating something I really enjoy.  Christmas.  All things Christmas.  This idea was fully realized when it manifested itself as what we know today as Santa Dad.   The rest is history. 

As my enjoyment of these two things continually blended and bled into every facet of my life, I eventually started to see these two characters more clearly.  I have long identified with Batman on many levels, but as a man living in the world in 2021 this connection seemed to grow even stronger.  As I thought about my life as the Santa Dad I began to see not so subtle influences of the Dark Knight on my smiling and happy parallel persona.  As his best self, Santa Dad is much more than a silly character that loves Christmas.  He is a metaphor for everyone that never misses a chance to ‘Make special happen’, celebrating all things Christmas, family, and fatherhood 365 days a year.  



When I thought about Santa Dad like that, I thought it made perfect sense.  I am the Santa Dad, but the idea that I represent is much more, much greater than one man.  Like the Bat, Santa Dad is a symbol.  In this case, a symbol of commitment, trust, dependability, character, and dedication.  That’s what love looks like.  That is family.  Anyone that loves their family and will do whatever it takes to make them feel safe and loved, special and seen, important and heard … that person is Santa Dad too.  A single mom or dad, a blended family, a modern family that looks somehow different than the traditional arrangement, a friend or group of friends that know and understand there is more than blood that makes family.



So why am I sharing this?  Why is now the perfect time to have a little fun and fully and publicly embrace my persona as Santa Dad?   Because Saturday September 18th, 2021 is Batman Day and like Batman, this is who I was always destined to become.  My origin story is a little different than the Dark Knight, but it still tracks.  When I was a child, I saw up close what it means to help others and to my younger self, those people I witnessed doing all they could to help others became heroes, and not one of them accomplished the good deed in the same manner.  And that is my goal, to help others.  To make them smile, lift their spirits, and offer them hope when the world seems dark and rough.  Does that make me a super hero?  No.  But at the same time, if my particular set of skills allows me to offer a helping hand, to show someone a little compassion, and be there in a moment someone needs a little help, that is what I hope to do.  Does being a super hero mean you are someone that shows up, stands up, and speaks up?  Someone that will never give up?  Someone that will fight for a loved one that isn’t able to fight for themselves?  If the answer is yes, and that makes me or anyone else a super hero in the eyes of the person in need in that moment, then so be it.  I want to be the very best dad, father, husband, and citizen I can be.  I am so grateful that I have the ability to spread happiness and even hope to others in the process.  If that makes Santa Dad a super hero then it is proof positive that old notion is true, literally anyone can be a super hero.  Me.  You.  Anyone.


The more I thought about just how similar Santa Dad and Batman really are, these famous quotes related to Batman began to just hit different.  I mean, I am Santa Dad, and Santa Dad is me and hilariously, the essence of what the Santa Dad is lines up extremely well when you apply these famous Batman (related) quotes.  So is Santa Dad the Batman?  Well …




Told you it was funny.  I see you smiling. 

If you’re a Batman fan like me don’t miss out on all the Batman Day fun.  Join with other fans of the Dark Knight as we celebrate The World’s Greatest Detective during this global event.  


Click the image for more on Batman Day 2021 

Keep ChristmasChristmas treewell all year ‘round, friends!

Santa Dad


   Christmas in july!

As the calendar rolls over to July, we in the Santa Family are reminded of why we love Christmas.  Everything about it.  The traditions.  The history.  The memories.  The way it makes you feel inside.  The smells.  The tastes.  The opportunity to not need a reason to help someone else.  The joy.  The innocence of the season, especially now that I get to see it reflected back at me in the faces of my two young daughters.  The magic.  The fun! 


Part of that fun is celebrating Christmas in July!  Here in the south it’s another sweltering summer, but there’s still plenty of room to celebrate the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ . . . adjusted for summer, of course! 


We’ve got big plans, including a party, and we wanted to share them with you.  So just in case you’re celebrating and you aren’t already motivated enough, here are a few ideas. 


Here’s what we’ve got planned! 

frozen hot chocolate bar

We couldn’t think of a better way to beat the heat at Christmas in July than with a frozen hot chocolate bar set up with all the fixins.  Marshmallows, whipped cream, and of course it’s the chocolate for me!  This DIY treat station is sure to be a hit with all of our guests, especially the littles! 

Marshmallow polar bears

Around here we’re all about family, food and fun, not to mention the occasional craft project, especially when we’re talking Christmas.  That’s where these cute-as-a-button marshmallow polar bears come in.  Not only will they be a blast to make the littles, they’ll be absolutely delicious too!

tommy’s famous sausage balls

If the Santa Family is getting together to celebrate the holidays . . . any holiday . . . well anything, really . . . the one thing that absolutely must be on the party table is Tommy’s Famous Sausage Balls.   

Tommy is my father-in-law, but these sausage balls were the stuff of legend before I ever officially joined the family.  Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to try them out and well . . . it goes without saying that they lived up to the hype.  So, if it’s Christmas or the Fourth of July, this legendary treat always delivers the deliciousness.

watermelon christmas cookies

Nothing really says summer in the south like a sweet and juicy watermelon, so it’s only natural that the Christmas colored star of the season would have a prime place on our Christmas in July table.  There are plenty of variations on festive and yummy ways to enjoy any number of delicious fruits as a healthy snack and this one is a winner.

santa shakes 

There is nothing more Christmas than Santa and there is absolutely nothing more Christmas in July than Santa shakes.  A quick search of the interwebs will show you that there is no shortage of recipes for this summer treat, be we keep things simple.  A heap of frozen strawberries, our favorite vanilla ice cream, a little milk or half-and-half, and extra ice if you need it.  Spin it all up, top with whipped cream and goodies to suit your taste and you’ve pulled it off.  You really can’t go wrong with this one, so have some fun.

santa face pancakes 

Our daughters love pancakes, but they also enjoy eating healthy.  And we all love to have fun.  That’s why this idea is a home run, whether we’re talking Christmas in July in the middle of baseball season or Christmas Eve when the big man is on his way!

Keep ChristmasChristmas treewell all year ‘round, friends! From Bethlehem to wherever you are in this old, wide world and from our home to yours, Merry Christmas in July from the Santa Dad! 



One of the best things about celebrating Christmas is spending time with family and friends.  And, of course, one of the added benefits of spending time with family and friends … especially family … is sharing stories, traditions, and yes, recipes! 


Every family has dishes and special treats that only get made during the holiday season that everyone cannot wait to enjoy as they embrace the jolly and make merry at their gatherings. We certainly have several, but one of the most anticipated treats year after year in our family are my mother-in-law Mary’s Fruitcake Cookies.  I grew up enjoying the traditional fruitcake (Claxton is my favorite), but once I married Santa Mom I was introduced to a fabulous take on the Christmas standard. These fruitcake cookies are lighter than a traditional fruitcake slice and are bursting with flavor.  Without a doubt, these bite sized treats are approved and a no-doubter to be included among my favorite Christmas recipes.



  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup margarine (2 sticks)
  • 3 cups flour (plain)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 ts vanilla extract
  • 1 lb candied pineapple
  • 1 lb candied cherries
  • 1 lb dates
  • 3/4 lb seedless raisins
  • 5 cups broken nuts (walnuts or pecans)


  • Hand or Countertop mixer
  • Measuring cup
  • Silicone spatula 
  • Cookie sheet
  • Large mixing bowl


  1. Mix together softened butter and sugar in mixer
  2. Mix dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda) 
  3. Add eggs, milk, and flour mixture, alternating wet and dry ingredients
  4. Add vanilla extract to mixture
  5. Combine above batter with chopped nuts and fruit in a large container
  6. Drop by spoonful directly on to your cookie sheet
  7. Place in a 275 degree oven for 25 minutes or until slight browning on bottom
  8. Remove from cookie sheet while hot
  9. Recipe makes about 90 crunchy and delicious cookies that will keep in a covered container for several weeks


Boxed and tied up with a string, in gift bags bound up with a bow, and perfect to enjoy over a hot cup of cocoa or your favorite coffee with your family and friends, Mary’s Fruitcake Cookies are a wonderful way for everyone to make merry during your next holiday gathering.


From Bethlehem to wherever you are in this old, wide world and from our home to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Santa Dad!


letters from santa


Just before sunset on the winter solstice, Riley, Kinsley, and went spreading Christmas cheer, caroling and gifting through our neighborhood. The girls would knock on the doors and greet everyone with a big “Merry Christmas!” Kinsley would hand each neighbor a holiday greeting card and then Riley would hand them a small box of treats, most of which we made together here at home. 


Finally, we would all sing “Deck The Halls” before the girls were waving and offering another round of hearty wishes of “Merry Christmas!” and “Happy Holidays!” as we moved on to the next home.  We saw lots of smiles and happy faces, holiday wishes, and even got one “Keep spreading the cheer, girls!”


What a wonderful outing making special Christmas memories.  Seeing our neighbors faces lit up with smiles warmed the cockles of our hearts.  Knowing they were responsible for all those smiles and warm feelings brought the girls SO much joy.


If that’s not what Christmas is about, well I don’t know what is.


Keep ChristmasChristmas treewell all year ‘round, friends!

Santa Dad


is all about making memories with loved ones, friends and family, and the fun activities that fill our holiday seasons year after year morph into the traditions that become the foundation of our lives.  These joyful moments spent with the people we care about the most become the images that flash across out minds when we think back fondly on Christmases past.


Each person and each family builds their own traditions over the years simply by enjoying the holiday season as they choose, but who isn’t on the lookout for new and fun ways to spend those precious moments with family and friends?  That’s why I’ve pulled together 25 traditions that our family has formed over the years that are fun, simple, and perfect for a young family with little ones . . . and anyone that loves Christmas!



Choose an advent calendar to enjoy as you mark each day in the count down to the big day!  Ours consists of 25 ornaments that hang on a small tree that is designated as our advent tree.  We fill each numbered ornament with Christmas candy treats for our daughters to enjoy when they open the ornament each day.  They absolutely love this one!




This classic Christmas tradition is a classic for a reason.  It’s timeless.  Honestly, are you ever really too old to share a Christmas wish with the big guy?


visit a tree farm

Whether you like to search until you find that perfect tree to cut down yourself, or you prefer to have someone else do the cutting by selecting a pre-cut tree, a tree farm is a wonderful way to spend a few hours and is guaranteed to help you get into the holiday spirit.  There’s usually plenty to do beyond picking the perfect tree too, like hay rides, the occasional petting zoo, and a pretty good chance you’ll find a nice selection of homemade confections and other goodies to choose from and enjoy.


trim the tree

We love to spend a day decorating the trees in our house each Christmas, but especially the live family tree after getting it home from the tree farm.  We’re having a wonderful Christmas time while we’re rocking around the Christmas tree, sipping egg nog and hot cocoa, and nibbling on popcorn as we deck the halls . . . together. 



Another hit on our family Christmas tradition checklist is the Christmas Eve cocoa bar.  We don’t stress about it too much and keep things simple.  Our favorite instant hot chocolate mix, mini marshmallows, whip cream, and colorful sprinkles make for a merry time for all.  The girls have a blast  dressing up their drinks with all the goodies that growing children really need.




Another timeless Christmas tradition that’s fun for the whole family.  The key here is to let go and have fun.  Let your children help as much as possible throughout the process and see their creativity and personalities shine. 



I’ll admit, when we first considered this idea I was a little hesitant.  I was afraid the whole thing would turn into a bigger deal than necessary and add stress to a day we refuse to be stressed out, but I was totally wrong.  I forgot to trust our family to do what we do best, simply be who we are.  To show up and show out.  We have a great time with it every year and I look forward to seeing everyone in their Christmas morning best.  Huge bonus?  The girls think it’s really cool that we are wearing their PJs! 



As we searched for ways to add fun to this dislocated year, we discovered this prize.  This is an idea that we attempted for the first time this year and it was such a hit there is no doubt that it will be a staple of our celebrations for years to come.  Everyone had so much fun, and we think it turned out pretty awesome too. 



Wow!  How things have changed since I was a child at Christmas.  Gone are the days of one or two (usually a little blurry) Christmas morning pictures.  Virtually everyone has a high quality camera in their pocket right on their phone, so there’s no excuse not to capture all those special moments the holiday season brings.  Our children are the stars of each of our Christmas stories, so whip out those phones and capture those special moments.  You and your children will be so grateful you did.




“The joy of brightening other lives becomes for us the magic of the holidays.”

W.C. Jones


It has been said that “The joy of brightening other lives becomes for us the magic of the holidays.”  One of the lessons of Christmas that I learned at a very young age is that everyone, even the smallest child, can do something to help someone else.  An act of kindness does not have to be large to be meaningful.  Whether it is “adopting” a family and helping them have a brighter holiday, volunteering, or simply helping a neighbor, we can all help to make the season bright.  The simple truth is, to know who needs help, you need only just ask. 



A quick and easy way to inject some holly jolly vibes into your holiday season is to build a soundtrack for your celebrations on your streaming platform of choice.  This is a joy multiplier because you get to enjoy it again and again.  First you have the fun of creating the playlist with your friends and family, and you get to revisit that happy place every time you listen and think back on all the fun and good times.



One of our favorite things to do any time of the year is read and tell stories and this is especially true at Christmas.  We have collected some of our favorites Christmas stories that we read with our girls every year that are age appropriate as they grow and learn, as well as a few of the classics for any reader to enjoy.  This is another HO-HO-HO winner because it creates a joy for reading and learning, all while we’re enjoying family time and making memories that will last a lifetime. 

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”

Norman Vincent Peale

“Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling.”

Edna Ferber



Of course, we have a couple of copies of Clement Clarke Moore’s Christmas classic in our Christmas library and each year, I snuggle in with my girls and read “The Night Before Christmas” to them before tucking them in bed as we get ready for that jolly old elf to visit. 




This is a really fun way to focus attention on the centerpiece of most Christmas celebrations and teach children about the stories behind each of the ornaments that adorn your tree and make it extra beautiful and so very special. 



Lift your voices and sing!  It’s virtually impossible to be singing Christmas carols and be sad at the same time.  Whether you just like to sing to yourself to keep a bounce in your step, sing with your family while your enjoying other traditions, or sing in a choir at church or go caroling in your neighborhood, belting out your favorite carols is a sure way to brighten your holiday.



A very special way to build your holiday history is by gifting a unique ornament to them each Christmas.  We give our girls a new ornament each year as we decorate our tree.  Whether you want the gift to mark some point in their lives or simply go with something you find striking that season, you can’t go wrong with this idea. 



Several of the films we traditionally watch during the Christmas season tend to spark vigorous debate over whether they are actually Christmas movies at all, but has the perfect solution.  You don’t have to choose!  It doesn’t matter what films fill your screens this holiday season, I say watch whatever makes you happy!  So grab those snacks, make sure you’re comfy on the couch with someone you love, and enjoy. 




Many of my best memories in life were made in the kitchen and that’s especially true at Christmas time.  There are so many wonderful treats the folks enjoy during the holiday season that the menu is huge.  Whatever it is that you enjoy and signals Christmas is on the way, gather with your family and friends in the kitchen and have some fun.  Honestly, I’m not sure what the best part of this tradition is . . . the fun of making the goodies or the pleasure of eating them.   Nom Nom Nom! 



Hands down one of the most precious Christmas traditions our family looks forward to every year is making reindeer food for Santa’s reindeer so that they will have the energy to get through Christmas eve and help Santa deliver gifts to all of the children around the world.  Our girls absolutely love helping Santa and his reindeer do their work and they take this job seriously . . . but not too seriously.   We keep the recipe super simple:  whatever oats we have on hand (oatmeal and Cheerios work great), add in a little sparkle with some sprinkles or crushed peppermint candy canes and you are good to go.  Have fun with it and add in whatever you think will boost the level of “magic” in your recipe.  Head outside before it gets too late (too dark for pictures!) and let the children spread it all around for the reindeer to enjoy.  I guarantee this one’s a blast for everyone! 






Last year we started a brand new tradition that has been a phenomenal hit here at home and with everyone that hears about it.  It is certain to be the crown jewel of our holiday season for generations to come.

In the midst of Christmas 2019 and with two very young children showing me the magic of the season with every move, I had the idea to wrap those ideas together by combining the classic Christmas icon, the Christmas wreath, and the vision of what the world looks like through the eyes of a child.  The key is capturing what matters most to my children in some physical way that accurately represents ‘a few of our favorite things’ from the past year.

“. . . These Are A Few of Our Favorite Things”: the Christmas Time Capsule wreath is our hyper-jolly way of documenting the various stages of our children’s lives as they grow.  It is a handmade Christmas wreath that captures how they feel about the year that was, what matters most to them at the time, and touches on the main themes of their lives over the past 12 months. 

Once the wreath is complete, we hang it alongside our other wreaths and it becomes a permanent part of our Christmas decorations.  As the years pass, we are building a visual display that documents our children’s lives that reads like chapters in a book that is filled with joy, hope, and love.  Quite possible the greatest story book ever written.



get crafty

‘Tis the season to have fun and be creative.  Thankfully Christmas is the idea starter that never stops giving, so take advantage.  Everything from original ideas to store bought foam Santas, pick what suits your fancy and create!  Another fun way to express your creative side is to make meal time fun.  Pancake snowmen are a big hit in our home.  Encourage your children to fully engage their imaginations and behold the wonder that follows.  Kids love to be imagine what the world could be and working alongside them as they show you the magic of the season is one of the greatest choices you could ever make.  Crafting is a wonderful way to spend the time together once everyone is out of school and home from work too. 




This is another area where the Christmas season presents endless opportunities to express exactly who you are and enjoy precisely what makes the holidays so special to you. Ornaments, snow globes, mugs, books . . . almost anything can be the theme for a seasonal collection.  All you have to do is choose.  So, give it some thought, then get out there and start hunting for your next holiday treasures.


ENJOY YOUR community

A little nip in the air is invigorating and the perfect time to get out into your community and take in all the area hs to offer like the local light displays, the community holiday parade, lots of botanical gardens have wonderful holiday light features, and local artisans and shops is where you can usually find a bounty of seasonal treats.  Don’t miss out!  Get out there and sample as much of the local flavor as possible and support your community while you’re at it. 



If the Christmas season is about anything it is about gathering together with those you love, so consider hosting a holiday party, a cookie exchange, or a present wrapping party to have some fun as you count down the days until Santa comes to town.  Keep it casual and focus on having a good time.  The rest will take care of itself. 


send christmas greetings

One of the most wonderful things I look forward to each year is sending and receiving Christmas cards through the mail.  Like everything else on this list, it’s a lot of fun and is a family affair around here.  Traditional greeting cards are always fantastic, but digital cards and video messages are fantastic too and offer worlds of options so let your inner elf shine and spread some good cheer! 


“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”

Charles Dickens