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Everything You Need to Know Before Santa Arrives This Christmas

By Nicole Levy | December 5, 2016 4:38pm | Updated on December 19, 2016 2:52pm
 Children drop off their letters to Santa inside the Macy's department store at Herald Square
Children drop off their letters to Santa inside the Macy's department store at Herald Square
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Step into any business in New York City at this time of year, and the carols on the sound system will remind you that Christmas is right around the corner.

With now less than a month to go before Santa and his reindeer embark on their gift-giving tour around the globe, DNAinfo New York has everything you and your kids need to prepare for his arrival.

Looking to contact Santa by snail mail? The USPS's "Letters from Santa" program can help you with that.

Here are the steps you'll need to follow:

• Place your child's letter in an envelope with the following address: Santa Claus, North Pole.
• Write the response you think Santa would and sign it off with his name. (He won't be upset, we promise.) 
• Insert both letters into another envelope bearing an address to your kid and one from Santa, North Pole. Stick a first-class stamp onto this envelope.
• Put everything into a larger envelope with the correct postage and address it to:

North Pole Postmark Postmaster
4141 Postmark Dr.
Anchorage, AK 99530-9998 

Letters must be received by the postmaster in Anchorage no later than Dec. 15., so make like Dasher and pop yours into a mailbox ASAP.

► More: See DNAinfo Partners' Neighborhood Picks in the 2016 Holiday Guide

You can also order a letter from Santa to your child, printed on his "personalized stationery" and delivered in a customized envelop, from the Christmas theme park Santa's Workshop, based in Wilmington, New York.

Or, if you'd like your child's letter have some social impact, you can drop it off at a red letterbox at a Macy's store or email it at macys.com/believe. The store is donating $1 for every letter, up to $1 million, to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, a nonprofit granting wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions.

Stock up on cookies for the big jolly fellow at the 8th Annual Cookie Walk at St. Nicholas of Myra Orthodox Church in the East Village on Dec. 10 and 11. The church's "cookie team" is baking more than 55,000 holiday cookies in 75 varieties this year, and participants can fill their boxes as many treats as they'll hold. 

Boxes come in two sizes, one priced at $15 and the other at $35.

The cookies freeze well, according to the event's website, so they'll definitely keep until Christmas Eve — unless you gobble them all before then.

If you can't make the cookie walk, city-wide parenting blog Mommy Poppins names 10 New York City bakeries selling everything from gingerbread-flavored macarons to sno-balls here. 

If your kids want to spend some quality time with Santa before his big day, take them for a trip to Macy's Santaland, a 13,000-square-foot North Pole village on the eighth floor of the department store's Herald Square location.

You can also have breakfast with Kris Kringle at the Rock Center Cafe at Rockefeller Center, or take a cruise with him departing from South Street Seaport. 

Follow St. Nick's progress as he makes he way to New York City on Christmas Eve by consulting NORAD's Santa tracker on your desktop or on your mobile device. You can also call 1-877-HI-NORAD to speak with a staff member who will tell you Santa’s exact location at a given time.

NORAD, a U.S.-Canadian military organization monitoring and defending North American airspace, tracks Santa's movement with radar, satellites, digital cameras and jet fights, according to its website