Telstra’s little-known Christmas surprise for kids stuns parents

Did you know kids can have a chat with Santa on the phone this year?

Christmas season has officially begun with the decorations out, carols playing at local shops, and fruit mince tarts filling bakeries across the country. And now Australian kids can call the North Pole directly to have a chat with Santa.

On Wednesday this week, phone lines to Santa's personal number opened up and parents can visit any of their local Telstra payphones nationwide to speak with the old man himself — something many parents had no idea about.

"Why has no one ever told me about this?" Celina McMahon said on TikTok while filming her son heading to a phone booth.

Image on left of payphone screen with Santa instructions. Image of left an excited young boy calling Santa on a payphone.
One Aussie mum shared how excited her son was to call Santa and was surprised she didn't know about it earlier. Source: TikTok

In its third year, many parents could not believe they didn't know about this either. "You can do that?" one person questioned.

"What!!! I'll be doing this with the girls this year, thanks," another said in excitement.

How to call Santa from a payphone

Right up until Christmas Eve, Aussie kids can call Santa for free by dialling # HO HO HO (#46 46 46) from a Telstra payphone anywhere in the country.

"This year is the most interactive Santa experience yet and children can ask Santa questions — from asking about the weather in the North Pole, to what the reindeers like to snack on before their big Christmas Eve adventure," Jana Kotatko, Telstra Retail Executive, told Yahoo News Australia.

Adults eyes only: What's the secret?

Telstra shares they have already received "a huge surge in calls" and for those inquisitive adults who want to know how they do it, it's an interactive Santa AI experience that shapes the conversation. Though, Santa has asked that we don't reveal any more of the magic from behind the scenes.

Do you have a Christmas story? Contact reporter Laura Koefoed at

Kids can also send Santa a letter through Australia Post

Australia Post also help kids across the country to write to Santa. Letters need to be addressed to 'Santa, North Pole, 9999' with a 65c Christmas stamp affixed to the front of the envelope. Include a name and return address on the back so Santa knows where to send his reply.

Parents and children who have low vision can opt to receive a large text reply from Santa by sending their letters to 'Santa Mail (large text), North Pole, 9999'.

This year, you can send a letter up until Sunday, December 24, 2023, but letters sent by Friday, December 1 will get a reply before Christmas Day — Santa will respond to the others as soon as he can.

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