What did you do the Christmas your child questioned the existence of Santa Claus?
Ate Santa's plate of cookies? Dressed up as Kris Kringle? Dropped a white glove in the living room?
Didn't work, did it?
When Karen Finley faced this problem 30 years ago, she tried something new. Using her driver's license as a reference, she made a Santa Clause sleigh license and put it under the presents where her 6-year-old would find it. She was rewarded with another year of Christmas magic.
Two years ago, she decided to turn her idea into a full-blown business, Pick-a-Card Productions. She hired graphic designer Kate Holinek to help her design cards much more professional than her cut-and-paste job 30 years ago. The result is Believe Without a Doubt licenses that help kids believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.
To a child, the laminated cards look very much like their parents' driver's licenses. They have much of the same information on them as well. Santa's license lists his height as "short," weight as "stout" and zip code as "below zero." Apparently, he is also registered "in your heart," which is nice.
The Easter Bunny has restrictions on its license like "night time/early morning travel only," "Bunny speed not to exceed 50 mph" and special allowances like "Unlimited hiding of Easter eggs." The Tooth Fairy does not have a picture on her license because, well, she is invisible.
"We tell people that anybody who drives, hops or flies needs a license," Finley said. "It's just too much fun."
When Finley started the business, she had all the pieces in place except for Santa's picture. She wanted the perfect Santa, but couldn't seem to find him. Finally, she found herself staring directly into Santa's eyes, where else, on the Internet.
"The minute I looked at him, I said, that's Santa!'" she said.
Dana Kaplain's picture was the last one sent to Finley by the Natural Bearded Santas of America, but it was perfect. And, yes, the Natural Bearded Santas of America is a real organization.
Finley said that the Santa licenses are good for two years in a row since they have instructions to return to Santa the year after they are found. She has clearly thought this concept through, and lists a myriad of other uses for the cards like baby shower gifts, ornaments, dinner place cards and gift toppers.
Children are not the only ones who have benefited from the licenses. One man told Finley that he got out of a speeding ticket by giving the officer his Santa license. The officer must have been in the holiday spirit, because he laughed and let him off with a warning. The man also shows the license to bartenders who ask for I.D.
Finley said that the licenses seem to be selling very well this year because they make an affordable gift in a rough economy. She wants to let as many children see the license as possible so she can accomplish her company's goal.
"We're just trying to keep kids young," she said.
Believe Without a Doubt licenses can be found at the company's website.