Monday, December 9, 2013

BLOG TOUR [Q&A with Veronica & SANTA] Heartfelt Letters from Santa by Veronica Steck

A two-book gift set
Available this 2013 Holiday Season
Creating a Christmas tradition for families!

Author and mother of three Veronica Steck releases letter writing guide for parents

CHESTERFIELD, Mo. – Little boys and girls all over the world traditionally leave milk and cookies for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, and some kids even write letters to the man in the big red suit, but what if he actually responded?

A proud mother of three, Veronica Steck is spreading the Christmas spirit with “Heartfelt Letters from Santa” new this 2013 holiday season. The two-book boxed gift set captures the magic of the cheery holiday and helps parents and relatives write letters to the kids in their lives on behalf of the big man in the red suit himself.

“Our children leave a letter for Santa every Christmas Eve, telling him to be safe, telling Santa where the cookies are, but mostly telling him they have been good (and to leave presents)” Steck says. “We then write a letter from Santa telling our children (through Santa’s eyes) how their year really went.”

Inspired by her family’s holiday tradition, Steck began writing “Heartfelt Letters from Santa” on Christmas Eve last year. She uses the letters to say things about her children’s’ behavior that year, pointing out areas they improved in, and ways they served others or acted in a humble way.

“We use the letters to motivate; we point out things we saw them do right, with the hopes of them doing more of the same in the next year,” Steck said. “We also point out areas we would like to see changes in (bickering with siblings, cleaning rooms, chores, better grades). We don’t just mention the big things; we bring up little acts of kindness and compassion they exhibited. We always try to mention things our children did not think we knew.”

“Heartfelt Letters from Santa” is an activity for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and anyone else who appreciates the value of encouraging children.

Steck lives outside of St. Louis, Mo. with her family. “Heartfelt Letters” is her first publication.


Biography of Veronica Steck

Veronica Steck is a native Texan now living in Missouri. She is the devoted mother of three healthy, happy children, and is active in both church and her children’s schools. Veronica also partners with her husband in their financial advisory practice. Her greatest love is spending time with her family and attending the kids’ sporting events and activities. And, of course, writing letters on behalf of Santa to her children every year.

When she is not taking care of her family, attending school or church functions or ghostwriting for Santa, Veronica trains for and runs marathons – one of the few activities in which she consistently stays ahead of her family.

Veronica Steck on the long-lasting tradition of
“Heartfelt Letters from Santa”

“These letters will become more precious as the years go by, mainly because of who wrote them for the child. As adults, the children will look back and see not only who they were but most certainly see the love the author of the letter had for them. This book will be a keepsake for every child to share with their own children.” 

Gift Set Details
“Heartfelt Letters from Santa”
Two Casebound Books in Slipjacketed Set 
978-0-9899156-0-1 -- My Letters from Santa (child's book) Journal, 160 pp. 
978-0-9899156-1-8 -- Heartfelt Letters from Santa (parent’s guide), 80 pp. 
978-0-9899156-2-5 -- Slipjacket with 2 books 
St. Nick’s Publishing 
October 2013 

Helping Santa Create a Tradition for Your Family

The magic of Christmas for children is embodied in Santa Claus. This book shows you how to capture that magic by writing a personal letter from Santa for the child or children who are special to you.

Letters from Santa can describe situations your child has been in, recount good deeds he or she has done, make suggestions for improving behavior, and generally inspire your child in positive directions you see for them.

The finely crafted companion volume is where you will write this special letter each Christmas Eve, after your child has brought their book of Santa’s letters to its honored place near the Christmas tree. On Christmas morning, the whole family can gather around as your child discovers what Santa has written just for them. 

As the years pass the book with these letters will grow more and more precious. It will be a chronicle of years past, and a guide for years to come. 

It will:
Transport both the child and the family back to the special moments in life,
Recap major events in the child’s progression to adulthood, and,
Remind children of how their biggest fans have stood with them and supported them, with loving, patience, and humor.

This guide for parents and adults will provide you with excellent ideas, key phrases, and topic areas to consider. It will clearly assist you in writing meaningful and heartfelt letters your child – and the whole family – will love.

Q&A with “Heartfelt Letters from Santa”
author Veronica Steck

How did this tradition of writing letters to your children from Santa Claus start?
Each Christmas Eve our children would leave cookies and milk with a note to Santa usually telling him how good they have been and to PLEASE leave presents. For many years my family had the children write Santa a letter and my husband and I would write letters to each child as if Santa had responded. We decided to leave a note from Santa with valuable feedback on how he saw their year. We added praise for areas where they had improved, as well as things they needed to work on. We also included statements about things our children did not know we knew. We pointed out their good deeds, as well as when they behaved with humility. We stressed gratitude for the things that they had, instead of for what they didn’t. As the children got older we added a bit of humor and a light sprinkle of sarcasm (usually about what was growing under their beds, etc.). I could see that I needed a resource to pull ideas from so that I could remember all the wonderful things our children had done throughout the year. I noticed that sometimes when we were in a hurry we missed things to mention and appreciate about our children. Last Christmas I decided that I must offer this book so that all the parents in the world would have this support that facilitates their encouraging and expressing gratitude to their own children.

What was it like seeing their faces the first time Santa responded to their letters?
They loved reading their individual letters from Santa. They usually read the letters out loud to everyone on Christmas morning. They were as excited to read Santa’s letters as they were to see what was left for them under the tree.  They were so touched that Santa knew them so well and they really appreciate the encouragement Santa gives them to work hard in school, use their manners, and become more compassionate children. They roared with laughter when Santa pointed out what their closets really look like.

Did you write letters from Santa Claus as a child? 
Yes, I did!  I loved Christmas as a child and am still a big fan of Santa! 

Does your family have any have any other Christmas traditions?
We have several Christmas traditions that span over a couple of states during our favorite time of year. We typically decorate the tree and our house right after Thanksgiving weekend. We love hanging ornaments that the children have made and ones that we picked out over time as a family. We always make sure while decorating to have Christmas music playing, a fire in the fireplace, hot chocolate, and eggnog. Another tradition is that we take a family photo with our two adorable dogs to send out as a Christmas card to family, friends, and clients. Our dogs have their own tradition and that is to make this endeavor as daunting as possible! Our favorite photos are usually the ones where our dogs are trying to escape from the shot! My family celebrates Christmas in Missouri and then again when we visit Texas for two weeks each year to be with my family.  Christmas is such a joy for all of us and when we visit Texas I relish everything I knew as a child there which I now share with my own family. We decorate my Father’s Christmas tree with ornaments we had when we were children and my sister and I recreate some of our favorite childhood recipes from our Grandmother. The best is Pecan Pie. We also help the children make Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve for Santa and of course we have to test them to make sure they are good enough for Santa.

What kind of treats does your family leave for Santa?
We leave homemade gooey cookies and ice cold milk right next to a letter for Santa each Christmas Eve, but I have to believe Santa appreciates any treat a child goes to the trouble to leave.

Christmas must be your favorite holiday. What makes that time of year so special to you?
Christmas is our favorite time of year. We savor the time together as a family. We reminisce about family members no longer with us that made prior Christmases beautiful and meaningful. We continue traditions and stories handed down to us to share with our children. Christmas reminds us that the blessings are not in the form of presents under the tree, but with whom we are able to share this miraculous day with.

One of the key goals of the book is for children to become kinder and more compassionate children. How does your book do that?
I really wanted to make sure to point out areas where the children showed how sweet and loving they had been over the previous year in the hope that they see that are valued and continue to be kind and even more considerate over time. The book also list statements and encouraging words for the areas the children can develop more skills by educating the children through uplifting and positive examples so that they learn to benefit themselves and to others when they behave in a kinder and more compassionate way. We remind our children to count their blessings, instead of their troubles.

Q&A with Santa Claus

How do you visit the whole world in just one night?
I stre-e-etch time. 

Do you read every single letter kids write to you?
Yes, I love to read the letters kids write. I know they took time to write them during a very busy time of year. All children have GIGANTIC hearts and their kindness is displayed in their letters.    

What’s your favorite Christmas song?
 # 1 Silent Night  
#2  Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Do you ever get tired of cookies and milk?
My doctor would hope for a much different answer, but ABSOLUTELY NOT!  Most people count sheep, I count cookies when I have trouble sleeping.

How do reindeer fly?
Magic Dust is the key. I carry it with me every Christmas Eve. This is the same magic dust used to make My Letters from Santa books   

What are you doing when it’s not Christmastime?
I oversee the elves while they make presents. Check the naughty and nice list on my computer.  I sing in my church choir with Mrs. Claus and the Easter Bunny.  Mrs. Claus and I love going to movies, usually every Wednesday night.