Families with young children often make visiting Santa Claus a part of their annual traditions. During the holiday season, Santa can be found taking up residence in department stores and malls across the country. Thousands of children and their parents will wait in line to get some face time with jolly old St. Nick. The following are a handful of ways to make kids’ visits with Santa even more pleasant.
• Do a test run. If your child has not taken a photo with Santa before, he or she may be frightened and the result will be a poor photograph. The beard and the red coat coupled with the fact that kids are sitting on a stranger’s lap can be terrifying for youngsters. Acclimate your child to the experience by visiting the mall to see Santa and become familiar with what he looks like and how he acts. It may take a couple of visits before your child is ready to wait in line for the real visit.
• Go off-peak. Visit Santa when the store just opens or when lines are not as long, such as during school hours or dinnertime. This should cut down on the wait and create a less tense experience. Confirm visiting hours so you don’t arrive only to find he’s out to lunch or feeding his reindeer. Do not schedule anything after the Santa visit, so you don’t feel rushed.
• Bring Christmas lists. While your main objective is getting the perfect shot for this year’s Christmas card, your children have other concerns. This is their big chance to meet Santa Claus himself! Help them prepare by bringing Christmas lists along or by helping them decide what they want to ask Santa to leave under the tree this year. This takes the emphasis away from the picture-taking and will help them relax when the big moment comes.
• Plan to go after naptime. Try to schedule your visit after your child’s regular naptime. The less tired your child is, the less cranky he or she will be when it’s time to meet Santa.
• Pack some supplies. Bring snacks and drinks for the kids so hunger does not make them antsy. Bring along a change of clothes in case someone spills food or spits up before your turn.
• Dress comfortably. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing so neither you nor the kids will be uncomfortable. The goal is to look nice for the photo, but not at the expense of the children’s comfort level. And while you should be comfortable as well, be sure to look presentable, in the event you have to hop into the photo if that’s the only way your son or daughter will tolerate the experience.
• Get Santa recommendations. Ask friends and neighbors which Santas they visit. Many stores will have a Santa on hand, but not every Santa is as adept at handling children. You want someone who is used to making children feel welcome and comfortable.
Above all, try to have a good time and don’t expect perfection. Sometimes the best Santa-visit moments are the ones that are unrehearsed.
Was your trip to meet Santa picture perfect or epic fail? If your meeting with the man in red didn’t go quite as planned, don’t fret. Those disastrous pictures are the most memorable of all! Check out some of the hilarious shots our readers sent in of their own Santa Fails.