Great Plains Communications Residential Blog

Keeping Your Family Connected

Tag: Christmas

I’m Dreaming of a Wifi Christmas

The turkey leftovers are finally starting to dwindle. You swap recipes for Amazon wish lists and smile at the thought of 2-day shipping. You notice Disney’s The Santa Clause trilogy is coming to Netflix December 12 and set a reminder in your calendar. The Internet has become a helping hand through the holidays. From Cyber Monday deals you can do in your pajamas, to streaming a crackling fireplace on your television because it has become a tradition the kids look forward to each year. The more we lean on that helping hand, the more bandwidth we demand and higher speeds are needed.

Make sure all your electronic devices operate smoothly this Christmas season by adding Great Plains Communications high-speed Internet service. In addition to receiving the top speeds in your area, we’ll include an Amazon gift card and FREE installation! Bundle your service to earn the maximum gift card benefit!

 

Not sure what speed is right for your family?

Click Here to take our interactive test.

 

Call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 to learn more about what’s available in your area.

Some restrictions apply, residential customers only. Services must be maintained for 6 months. Failure to do so will result in an early termination fee equal to the amount of the gift card received. Speeds and availability may vary by location.

*Restrictions apply, see amazon.com/gc-legal

Our Top Picks for Santa Trackers

It is just about that time, for the big man in red to load up his sleigh. The reindeer will be anxious to be on their way. With the help of technology, you can track his route with a Santa Tracker. Great Plains Communications has included some of our favorite websites to help your family track him together on Christmas Eve.

Official NORAD Santa Tracker

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is a “United States Canada bi-national organization charged with the missions of aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning for North America”. Their NORAD Tracks Santa® (NTS) program has been around since 1955. Enjoy not only watching as Santa makes his way around the world, but also fun games, music and movies on their website: http://www.noradsanta.org/

 

Google Santa Tracker

Another great Santa Tracker for the whole family to enjoy is the Google Santa Tracker. It again has much more than just his route through the sky, but also learning games and activities for the kids to enjoy all through December. https://santatracker.google.com/intl/en/village.html

 

Looking for something other than just tracking?

You can have your children check if they are on the naughty or nice list by answering a few questions here: http://emailsanta.com/naughty_nice.asp.

You could also create a free personalized video from Santa to your child here: http://emailsanta.com/naughty_nice.asp.

Christmas Dinner with The Food Network

Pork or beef? Potatoes or Brussels sprouts? The dinner table is the constant through all the traditions. No matter if it’s opening one present on Christmas Eve or you spending Christmas morning snuggled in the backseat of the family car, most likely you will find your way to the dinner table with the ones you love. Great Plains Communications wants to help you cherish the food that brings us all together. Below we have shared some decadent recipes provided by our cable channel, The Food Network.

Roast Prime Rib with Thyme au Jus

 

Toasted Spiced Ham Drizzled in Honey

 

Sausage and Apple Stuffed Pork Roast

How you can Track Santa this Christmas Eve

We live in a technology driven world, trying to grasp onto culture and tradition in hope of passing it down to the next generation. The holidays are a time when we are surrounded by traditions and a large piece of that lives in the charming belief of Santa Claus. While cell phones, tablets and video games may litter their wish lists, children still look to the jolly ol’ man, with the white fluffy beard, in the same red suit driven by the same nine reindeer to deliver their presents Christmas Eve night.

Great Plains Communications wants to provide you a way to combine our tech-savvy world with the enchantment of Santa Claus. Our three favorite virtual Santa websites this year are:

With Portable North Pole, you can make a FREE basic package video personalized to your child. You first upload a picture of them, from either Facebook or your computer. Then you fill out some information, including the child’s name (with pronunciation), gender and birthday. From there you answer more detailed questions to make the video as believable as possible. The end product is delightfully personal to the child and a perfect way to top off their excitement for the season.

The Official NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) Santa Tracker is the original Santa tracking program, dating back almost 60 years. It offers games, videos and information, combined with colorful and friendly graphics. As Christmas Eve approaches, new games are unlocked and the countdown ticks by. 

Google has stepped up to the challenge, rivaling NORAD in the Santa Tracking business. It offers a more universal experience, from a language translator offering multiple ways of saying our favorite holiday slogans, to a customizable Santa phone call.

The big day is approaching fast, and no matter if you choose NORAD, Google or some other Santa tracking website, Great Plains Communications hopes you and your family have a very Merry Christmas!

The Traditions of Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse

Clement Clarke Moore’s A Visit from St. Nicholas has become an iconic poem shared by many during the holiday season. It embodies the excitement and joy the season naturally emits and creates a picture of the traditional Christmas with the creative vision of a child.

Since the poem’s 1823 publishing, you could say some of the Christmas traditions have evolved a bit. Stockings might still be hung, but on a banister or the edge of each bed. One present opened on Christmas Eve, building the excitement for the morning to come. The night spent bundled in blankets in the back seat of the family car as you travel the distance, but no worry because Santa Claus knows to find children at Grandma’s house. Christmas traditions are as unique as the family that created them.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.

One big factor of a family Christmas tradition is often the food. Does your family sit down around a roasted ham, or carving of the roast beef? Great Plains Communications and Food Network have provided three videos of some delicious main courses that could possibly find their way into your family tradition this year. Enjoy, and share in the comments below what yummy treats your family cherishes each Christmas.

He sprung to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle:

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Spreading Christmas Cheer at Great Plains Communications

As 40 children shared in a failed attempt of holding in their enthusiasm, the sound of jingle bells rang through the atrium of the Great Plains Communications Blair office. The man of the hour had arrived, with his iconic red suit and joyful allure. The elevator opened and Santa Claus welcomed the crowd with a booming “Ho, Ho, Ho”.

Great Plains Communications, has a few ways of celebrating the holiday season. As tradition, on December 12, Santa visited the office with a gift for each child in attendance. Cookies and punch were provided and employees were able to share a cheerful time with family and coworkers.

When the hail storm of June 3, 2014 hit multiple communities around Nebraska causing widespread devastation, Great Plains Communications recognized the overwhelming need in our community. As a way to extend a helping hand and needed cheer this season, the company worked together to raise money for the local Food Pantry. Great Plains Communications is proud to announce that we have raised $5,630. We thank all of our employees for their generous donations.

Along with the Food Pantry, employees worked together in collecting toys for the Blair Optimist Club. The overflowing sleigh of gifts in the Great Plains Communications atrium says it all. Again, we thank our employees for their cooperation and donations.

The holidays are a time to celebrate with friends and family. We felt there is no harm in adding a little competition to the celebration. This year each of the departments in the Blair office were provided a Christmas tree to decorate. The prize of a pizza party and light-hearted bragging rights were at stake. Ideas from virtual decorating using “The Cloud”, to telephones and mock fireplaces came to life as the departments gave it their all. You can check out all the decorations, Santa pictures and final judging on Facebook later this week.

Great Plains Communications hopes you have a safe and wonderful holiday season filled with love and joy!

Our IP Gift List

The holiday season is in full swing and we’ve compiled a list of our favorite new techie gifts for the holiday season.  From Internet-enabled devices to the new “old-school” look of Polaroid, we’ve got you covered!

Internet-Enabled TVs: These types TVs have been on the market for a while, but are coming into their own thanks to companies like Google and their latest product Google TV.  As a standalone TV or set-top box, Google TV allows you to watch Netflix, YouTube, even your own home movies on your TV.  It also creates personalized viewing suggestions using its powerful algorithms.  Of course, this TV also provides a crystal-clear picture to enjoy your Cable TV as well!

The New Polaroid Camera: Remember the satisfaction of snapping a picture and watching it immediately develop?  Polaroid’s latest offering recreates that experience with its new no-ink 14Mp camera that can instantly print a copy of your photo in the old-school Polaroid format.  You still get the benefits of a traditional digital camera, as well. Plug the camera into the computer and you can upload custom borders and share photos online!

Tablets (That aren’t the iPad): In the past month, both Amazon and Barnes & Noble have introduced tablets that range from $199 to $249.  Far cheaper than the starting price of the IPad2 at $599.  Both the Amazon Kindle Fire ($199) and the Nook Tablet ($249) have access to enormous book and video stores and have access to thousands of applications.  Both also have access to the Internet, email and more.  Find a full comparison here.

Of course, the more Internet-enabled devices in your home, the more bandwidth you’re potentially using at any minute.  Make sure you maximize your bandwidth by finding great tips here.  Ready to increase your speed?  Call our Customer Response Center at 1-888-343-4014 to find out what’s available in your area.

Saying Thanks to our Troops

It’s popular this time of year to say what you’re thankful for.  Well, here at Great Plains Communications, we’re grateful for a lot of things, including the continued freedom we enjoy.  For this reason, we once again want to help you say thank you to troops serving overseas this holiday season.  If you are a Great Plains Communications’ customer and have family serving overseas, we will cover the cost of shipping a USPS approved military goodie box to your loved one serving overseas.

For all of those who are sending items overseas, here are a few quick tips to ensure a happy holiday season.

  • Desert climates may have extreme temperature fluctuations; beware of substances that are prone to damage by significant changes in temperature.
  • Make sure to check USPS timetables, and send your package early to ensure that the recipient receives it by December 25.
  • It may surprise you what can’t be sent, so double check regulations.
  • Reinforce all box seams with packing tape to reduce the risk that the box will become damaged in transport
  • Pack all of your items securely.  After you have packed your goodie box, but before you seal it, shake the box.  If you hear anything rattling around, add more packing material.

When you are ready to send your box, go to the troops form at Great Plains Communications’ website.  Once you fill out the form, you will be mailed a pre-paid postage stamp that you can affix to your approved USPS military goodie box.

Thank you for letting Great Plains Communications help you bring a little piece of home to the troops serving our country overseas.