Monday, December 04, 2017

#HGG2017: Portable North Pole {review and giveaway}






The annual writing of the letter to Santa Claus is a huge deal for many children. A lot of thought goes in to finding just the right words, and of course you have to carefully choose your gift wish list. Just think how excited those same children would be to receive a message to them from Santa himself!! 

They can do just that, with the Portable North Pole website and app! PNP provides personalised video messages, and telephone calls, from Santa to kids around the world. Santa can send his messages in English, French, Spanish, and Italian. Grown-ups create the videos by uploading particular details, like name, age, location, the gift they most want, and can add a few pictures, especially one of the child, as well. Depending on the video you choose, there may be options to upload pictures of pets, friends, a vacation, or even their letter to Santa. When you upload a optional picture of the gift they are asking for, you choose from a drop-down menu whether it is a toy, puzzle, video game, clothes, movie tickets, book, etc. These details add so much realism. It also helps that Santa's mouth is covered by his lush beard, so there is no worry of the lip movement not matching the words your child hears :)

I have made a number of these videos for Michael over the years, and have watched the offerings grow. Each year seems to bring a new video option, birthday videos, and more. Michael is a little old for messages from Santa now (he'll be 12 in a few weeks!!), but he LOVED receiving these when he was younger. I'd announce that a message had come in for him via email, from Santa, and he'd come running to view it, multiple times over. Seeing his picture in the video, and seeing his friends' names on the books near to his just made it all seem so real and exciting for him. I put together a couple of mock-up videos so you can see what the final product looks like. This first one is the basic, free video message.


That was about a minute and a half, but here is one of the premium video messages, which runs over 6 minutes.



PNP North Pole has several packages from which to choose, depending on your needs. Larger packages are great for anyone with multiple kids, so everyone can get their own personalised message from Santa.
  • FREE: There are 4 unique, customizable videos - Christmas videos for kids (the first one I did, above), grownups, and groups, plus one for Birthdays.
  • Single Premium Video ($5.49): Choose from among 6 Premium videos.
  • Video Pass ($10.99): Unlimited Premium videos, Reaction Recorder (mobile app only), Christmas Eve and Birthday videos. 
  • Magic Pass ($14.99): Unlimited Premium videos and calls, Reaction Recorder (mobile apps only), HD video downloads and 5 weekly bedtime videos read by Santa leading up to the big day. Also includes Christmas Eve and Birthday videos.
You can create one of these videos for a special child in your life, either on the website, or through the PNP app, available for both Android and iOS systems. The app has some additional features you won't find on the website, including a couple of cute Christmas-themed games and a set of filters for taking creative selfies.

Ho! Ho! Ho!
The app is divided into a pass code protected Parents Corner, where you can create and share videos, and the Kids Corner, where your children can play and watch their videos.


The reaction recorder allows you to take a picture-in-picture of your child watching their video message from Santa, so you can capture their joy and excitement for posterity. This feature is only available in the app, and the app is free, so I really recommend you download it. (Just search PNP in the app store or Google Play store.) Even it you create your videos on the website, you can access them when you log in to your account on mobile. Of course, both in the app and online, you can download a copy of your video message to watch offline whenever you or your child wishes.

New this year, PNP has released a book, Twenty-four Sleeps Until Santa: A Christmas Countdown. This hard-cover volume contains 24 scenes of the goings-on at the North Pole in the days leading up to Christmas Eve. We meet different elves and animals, learn that the reindeer eat magic lichen, and more. But most importantly, Santa has lost his 24 magical keys, and we need to help him find them. Each beautiful and detailed illustration has a key hidden somewhere. Can you find them all? Some of them jump right out, and others are pretty tricky. And with every book you receive a code to redeem for a single premium video. The book is available at Amazon.ca and Indigo.ca (approximately $15).



Giving Back


Another thing I love - Portable North Pole donates 5% of all online sales proceeds to children’s hospitals around the world. Since 2012, PNP has donated over $300,000.

Get Social

You can connect with Portable North Pole on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

A Giveaway

One lucky RMB reader will receive a copy of Twenty-four Sleeps Until Santa, plus an exclusive code to create your own video at PNP. Entries are via the widget below and will be accepted until December 13, 11:59pm ET. Giveaway is open to Canadian residents only. Best of luck!



Disclosure: I received complimentary product to facilitate this review. No financial compensation was received. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own or those of my family. This post contains affiliate links, and should you make a purchase after clicking through, I will receive a small commission from the retailers. 

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