A Sioux City-based business is linking kids in Iowa and across the globe with Santa Claus. The website “SantaSpeaking.com” is preparing to hire up to 20 people in northwest Iowa to handle the connections during the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Anne Gaskell is C-E-O — chief elf officer — of the company.Gaskell expects about a half-million children from the U.S. and Canada and as far away as Australia and New Zealand to log on to the website on Christmas Eve. The site offers live personalized Santa experiences, including phone calls from professionally-trained Santa actors and, as a keepsake, the recording of the conversation is available on C-D. Gaskell says the website offers a way for kids to hook up with Santa without feeling scared at the mall. Kids can also track Santa on Christmas Eve with what looks like live video from the sleigh in addition to pre-recorded messages from Santa that can be phoned in the night of December 24th and hourly emails. Gaskell says there’s a variety of free entertainment on the website as well to get kids in the mood for the yuletide, including a naughty-nice meter. There are also games like designing Santa’s new sleigh, a reindeer-cam and dress-an-elf. The phone calls from Santa are 15-dollars before December 15 and cost 20-dollars after December 15. The calls are three-to-five minutes long and are personalized when the order is placed on the website, “www.santaspeaking.com”.
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