Move over, Rudolph! There’s a new shiny-nosed reindeer in town. This winter, New Market mom Michelle Budd aims to spread Christmas cheer with her new indoor-outdoor seek-and-find holiday activity, Santa’s Scout.
Before embarking on her journey to becoming an entrepreneur, Budd was a health-care industry professional. However, she always had a knack for writing and creating. Although Budd launched Santa’s Scout this year, the story behind the product dates back to her childhood.
“When I was a young child, my parents had always told us that Santa had a very special helper … and that this helper was a reindeer that helped Santa to locate good kids’ homes on Christmas Eve,” Budd says. “For years (my siblings and I) watched for this reindeer with this yellow star nose, and when we saw him, we knew that Santa was close by.”
When Budd’s son—now 9 years old—was a toddler, she and her husband continued the tradition with him. Budd began writing a children’s book about the character in 2017 and sent out the first Santa’s Scout trial kits in December 2019. But it took another year of hard work and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic for her to finally share her family’s secret with the world and launch her own business: Family Holiday Traditions, LLC.
“During this pandemic, people are looking for a way to bring back simpler times,” Budd says. “Our mission, really, is to provide a new activity that will bring and keep families together and provide a sense of adventure and memories during this difficult time,” she says.
The Santa’s Scout Activity Kit includes a colorful children’s book authored by Budd and illustrated by freelancer Denis Proulx, which can be read as a family on Christmas Eve. It also comes with a Scout reindeer plush toy to peer out of your little one’s window, a remote-controlled star for parents to hang outside and switch on when the time is right (think Bat Signal, but festive), plus all necessary batteries and a user guide.
In Budd’s view, “seeing is believing” when it comes to keeping the Christmas spirit alive in inquisitive children. A glimpse of the Santa’s Scout sign to Santa lets them know it’s time to head to bed and let Mr. Claus do what he does best—eat cookies, drink milk and deliver gifts!
Although Budd does not see her product as an Elf on the Shelf competitor, she believes that being on the lookout for Scout may in fact help kids stay on Santa’s nice list even after the holidays have come to an end.
“This is a flexible activity and parents can choose when they wish to engage their children. It can be used on Christmas Eve alone or anytime throughout the year as a reminder for children that Santa is always watching,” Budd says. “The storybook can be used as an anytime bedtime story for children as well—families can make this activity their own.”
In the absence of typical holiday traditions like the obligatory photo on Santa’s lap or the sugar-stocked class party, Santa’s Scout offers a new opportunity for holiday memory-making while reinforcing kids’ sense of wonder and keeping bad behavior to a minimum. Even though this year may look a little different, the most rewarding parts of the season remain within the realm of possibility.
“Spending time with friends and family is my favorite Christmas tradition,” Budd says. “I can’t wait to celebrate with good food, Christmas music and, of course, with Santa’s Scout!”
What: Santa’s Scout
Where: lookoutforscout.com and Amazon
Price: $41.24 with free shipping available
More info: 833-287-2688 (toll free) or [email protected]