Maybe it’s just us. But the idea of dragging the kids to the mall to wait in a long line and then clamber up onto a stranger’s lap just doesn’t bring us much holiday cheer. So we found a better way—a video chat with Santa from the comfort of home.

Many websites offer telephone chats and letters from Santa, but there are only a few where kids can chat face-to-face with the jolly old elf.

We came across one website where Santa’s helpers weren’t very tech-savvy at all. At first, SantaSkype.com looked quite promising, with a spreadsheet tracking Santa’s availability. After paying $14.95 via PayPal, we received an auto reply stating Santa was busy preparing for the holidays and would be back to us soon. We didn’t hear anything until we got an email from the webmaster who said as far as he knew the service wasn’t being offered this year (We were able to cancel the PayPal payment).