Category Archives: Kids & Fun

One Mom’s Guide to Visiting Santa’s Village: A New Hampshire Gem

One Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: A New Hampshire Gem! | Hardly A Goddess

So many of us are in full Holiday-mode, and gearing up for a memorable Christmas season. Well, this year, I was lucky enough to receive tickets to Santa’s Village in Jefferson, NH in exchange for an honest review, and I was more that eager to share this great place with you all!

While Santa’s Village is open May-December, we always go in November, right after Thanksgiving. It is sort of our way to get ready for the holiday and enjoy the beautiful lights, and spirit of fun of the season. I have to say, I would LOVE to go in the summer though, as they have a whole section of summer-fun water slides that we never get to try! But for today, I will share my very wintry experience with you!

So before you go, I thought I could tell you some tips and more about the park, that might help make your visit extra great and easy too!

What to bring:

  • If you go in the winter, wear snow pants. The rides can be wet, and also cold, so prepare yourself and the kids by bringing snow-gear: hats, gloves, boots, snowpants, and maybe hand-warmers!
  • If you go in summer, don’t forget to pack: towel, flip-flops, sunscreen, bathing suits with a plastic bag to carry the wet suit in after, and hats.
  • Bring a little backpack. Items that you make, buy, or to hold gloves can go in here without worry about where you left them!

Once you arrive:

  • Go to the bathrooms 1st. With all the snow gear on, it is easier to just get it done now! But they do have very clean, spacious (great changing areas for babies) restrooms throughout the park!
  • Then go to Elf University 2nd. Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: Jefferson, NHThe kids will get their Elfabet Game Cards, to use throughout the park. They wear it around their neck and then as you make your way through the park, there are Elves with names from A-Z like this: So then, the kids do a punch-card poke of the card until all the letters (elves) are found. When you are done, return to the University for an Elf Diploma and prize! Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: Jefferson, NHThis is the best, most fun ever, and my kids love it- plus it motivates them to work their way around the park to the next elf. Genius.
  • If you need a Santa visit,  you may want to assess the line for that right after you visit the Elf University.
  • If you already saw Santa, or will see him somewhere else, then you can go left, or right once you enter the park. They give a map upon entry, and the total space of the park is small enough to cover close to all of the features in one day. Enjoy!

Special Tips

  • We stay an hour away, so we arrive at the opening time and usually stay until they close! You can do almost everything they offer, though you need to make sure to leave wait-time for 3 things: Santa’s Home visit, the YouTubing, and the Skyway Sleigh. While the lines are longer for these, they mostly move quickly and we’ve never waited too long. The park is small enough, that lines move along, which I love! On their website, they have dates that are less busy than the weekend of Thanksgiving, so you can plan your visit for when lines will be very short!

    Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: Jefferson, NH

    Of course the boys had to race each other!

  • For extra value, if you buy a ticket during the final 3 hours of the day, you can get in for those 3 hours and also, the next day on the same ticket. I have never done this, and I think it would be great if you stayed at a place super close by. There are just a few motel-type places nearby that we’ve never tried, but if you check around, I am sure you could get reviews.

Eating:

We always eat there at either Nick’s Pizza Emporium or Dasher’s Delights, but unlike other parks, you can bring your own food in and eat! Such a bonus, right?! This is just so refreshing to go to an amusement area, where everything is priced very reasonably and you never get the sense that you are shelling out money all the time. Some parks are the exact opposite. My kids love the midway-type games at most parks and those games can bleed you dry! At Santa’s Village, the midway-games cost a dollar! Food is so inexpensive compared to other places we’ve been. In fact, they offer FREE strollers, and FREE parking, and a FREE pet-sitting area. Souveniers and gifts are available and also are very reasonably priced. I just love this.

What we did:

Everything! The park is small enough that you can do everything! I love that the rides are geared for little people, so nothing is too scary. The height requirements vary, but most are 42″ to ride alone, or under if with a parent.

An easy ride for little kids and tired parents is the Jinglebell Junction railroad which is adorable and a way to see the entire park:

Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: Jefferson, NH

Making Gingerbread Men:

My boys loved decorating gingerbread men at the Sugar ‘n Spice Bake Shop, when it was time to get a little snack. My girls went to have cocoa and my husband, the homemade donuts (yum!) at the Doe-Nut Factory.

Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: Jefferson, NH

Driving their own cars!

Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: Jefferson, NH

Making Rings (Free!)

Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: Jefferson, NH

And visiting Santa’s Reindeer! And you can feed them too! It was fun to remember their names on the car ride up…actually we had to Google it! And then proceed to sing the Rudolph song for the next hour…memories… and Advil! Can you remember all the names in the song?

Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: Jefferson, NH

Well, we didn’t do everything– we didn’t make our own gifts at the workshop, nor did we see the shows this year at the Jingle Jamboree or Polar Theater, but we have in the past, and to be honest, those are not to be missed when you need to get warmed up and the kids need a break.

When dusk comes, I love the lights and there were plenty of places to get some great family-fun shots that might be contenders for the Holiday card this year! This one is just okay- as my phone camera given to a stranger, only works so well. But you get the idea of how pretty it is at night and magical when the park is really at it’s best with the snow and colors!

Mom's Guide to Santa's Village: Jefferson, NH

I asked my kids what they like the most about Santa’s Village:

“The Rapid Rudy Transit Coaster, the Sleigh Ride, and driving the Antique cars (by themselves!).” And my kids are 6, 10 and 11 years old. We have gone the past 3 years, and they still love it!

I asked my husband what he likes the most about Santa’s Village:

“Just the overall atmosphere.”

Yes. A man of few words here, but the atmosphere really is the best part about Santa’s Village. As you can see, it is themed out in every conceivable way, and my kids just love it. We love it. It is holiday-awesomeness all year around! I hope you consider making a trip if you are anywhere near New Hampshire. From Boston it is about a 2-hour drive. There is so much to do in the surrounding area for families, you can totally make it a trip for a weekend! It is truly a trip that your kids will treasure for years to come~

If you want to know more about Santa’s Village check them out here:

Web (awesome website!): http://www.santasvillage.com/
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*While I was not financially compensated for this post, I received ticket compensation for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own as always, and based on my personal experience.For more information see my full disclosures page.

H.A.G.’s Best Stocking Stuffers for Little Kids

Here are some great smaller gifts that I think my kids and probably yours…would love this season. They are big enough to stuff the stocking, and small enough that they don’t always work as big-presents. I love these, and I will tell you why! I am providing buying options for your convenience, and some- not all- may be affiliate links, where I make a small percentage as commission. It does not affect your price at all. Let’s shop!

Best gifts for stockings stuffers for little kids

Hidden Pictures Discovery
(Amazon)

I love these hidden pictures books, and also lots of activiites from this publisher. When I am making dinner, the kids will sit occupied for quite a while, competing to see who can find all the items on a page the fastest. We usually use up 2 pages per kid at a sitting, so I buy more than one of these with different themes. This “Around the World” theme is just one of many. It is great to keep the kids busy at restaurants too (wink, wink), so a great thing to stash in your purse! More of a present for mom, but fun anyway!

Uno Card Game
Amazon

I love UNO, but inevitably, we lose cards. A once a year re-stock is always a great idea. I also like regular playing cards, or other small-boxed card games. When these are on sale I stock up- I use these all the time as add-ons for presents throughout the year. Small and fun. Perfect for a stocking.

ty® beanie boos™
Five Below

Boys or girls, like these little cute stuffed animals. You can find them almost anywhere, but the Five Below is great- because it’s $5 and below. If you you don’t have one nearby, you can go to Justice or Target or anywhere they sell Toys probably! The smaller the better for the stocking, so your choices are many!

Play-Doh
Toys-R-Us

Easy. These sink and fit right into the bottom of the toe, and they are heavy, so they make the stocking feel like a million bucks! Plus, we always need new playdoh, so this is a toy that we’ll use and need!

Kids Toothbrushes
Dollar Tree

I never buy toothbrushes anywhere else. Not only do they have the name brands, but of course, you can get these at the DollarTree for $1- whootwhoot! Love the Dollar Tree come stocking time! Tons of fun little add ons too: nail polish, gum packs, lifesavers, bath fizzes, chapsticks, socks, match box, and other little things that you can sneak in there.

We have always had a hard time with the Stockings part of Christmas, since they seem to get overlooked. Recently we changed our tradition to letting the kids open their stockings first. That way we can get coffee before any of the opening of presents starts! Details. How do you deal with stockings? Do you even have them? I would love to know! Share great ideas that have worked for you in the comments below! In the meantime, Happy Shopping!


I can’t wait to offer products like these that I know you will love! This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation. It does not affect your price at all. For more information, see my full disclosure page.

H.A.G.’s Best Gifts for Boy OR Girl Tweens

Are you like me, and often stumped on what to get the age group that is too old for many toys, too young for all electronics and gift cards? It is really a tough age to buy for, and still keep the fun in the gift buying. Here are some ideas that I have for making choices that will thrill most kids aged 9-12.  Again, I am providing buying options for your convenience, and some- not all-  may be affiliate links, where I make a small percentage as commission. It does not affect your price at all. These options are for boys OR girls. You’re welcome!

Top picks for Gifts for Tweens: Boys or Girls

RUBIK’S RACE game
Rubics Website

This is such a fun game. The space in the middle is actually for a slide that shows what the cubes need to look like, and the two kids compete to see who can slide their cubes the fastest into the given pattern. It is addictive and fun for not just the tweens, but the parents too. A family-fun situation.

Polaroid ZIP Mobile Printer
Amazon

Okay, so yes, this is technology. But it is creative too! What I like about it is that it comes in 4 different colors for boys or girls to like, and it is compatible with Android or iOS. Instant gratification is tween-speak for happiness. Polaroid, my friends, is instant. We like this idea!

Pro Art 18-Piece Sketch/Draw Pencil Set
Amazon

I like that this quality set is more advanced than just the run-of-the-mill pencils. It has charcoals and different lead-weights. Pair this with an inexpensive drawing pad, and a book about drawing (faces, animals, whatever the favorite) and you have a really nice gift that kids won’t ask for, but they will enjoy.

Sleeping Bag
Target

My kids have finally grown out of their Disney character sleeping bags, and are somewhat embarrased at recent sleepovers…It is time for an upgrade! Any quality sleeping bag would work, but the Coleman brand is known for camping, so I assume they will be good for a quality sleeping bag. These are on my list this year, so I can’t attest to the brand. either way, these are easy to find at Target, and come in a few appealing colors for girls or boys. Check!

Yvolution Y Fliker F5 Green –  Flow Series
Amazon

Okay, so at $164, this is a big ticket item. But any kid over 9 years old will love this thing. Knowing that flat surfaces are nearby the child’s locale are probably ideal if you are gifting this. It seems harder to operate on sidewalks or up and down hills! Any gift that gets my kids outside is a good one. They have a lot of great toys already, but this one seems pretty fun for sharing with their siblings too, so that justifies the big purchase too.

Yogibo Beanbags
Yogibo Website

This is a store my kids love, so I might lean toward the herbal wraps for smaller gifts. If you are in the market for a bean-bag chair…Tweens would love it. What I love about this brand is that the covers are WASHABLE. The cheaper chairs are sewn in, so that you can never wash them. Tweens are stinky. Sorry. I just like the idea that I can clean these, and then they will last. These products have a big range of prices. They have nice herbal heat-wraps that are $20 and they also have furniture that is over $300. In-between, there are some nice body pillows, study pillows (as pictured is $89), and beanbags.  To me it is worth the cost.


So this is it- I have other go-to items like legos, crafts, sports apparel and books, that are no-fail items for my own kids. I also love games as gifts, since they suit a variety of ages and are fun on the day that they are opened. I would love to hear some more ideas, so please share in the comments- I would love to know what you are loving! For now, I hope I have you some new ideas~ Happy Shopping!


I can’t wait to offer products like these that I know you will love! This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation. It does not affect your price at all. For more information, see my full disclosure page.