Handy Hints for Families Visiting Santa -- from a 'Real' Santa

Share Article

All across America, Santa Arrives this weekend at your favorite Mall. Handy tips from 'Real Santa' Tim Connaghan, to make your trip and visit to the Mall and Santa a lot easier, more fun, and possibly more rewarding. The annual trip to visit Santa is often a very special occasion for many families. For some it is a ritual with traditions. For other families, it is just a fun day to go shopping and visit with an old friend who just happens to have a white beard and wear a red suit. In any case I hope your trip to visit me is fun, enjoyable and memorable.

This weekend Santa arrives at thousands of local Malls and Shopping Centers across America. And Santa's arrival is almost like a starting gun at a marathon.

It's a signal for millions of Americans, and their children, to get dressed up, jump in the family car, fight the traffic and crowds, and collect that treasured, annual photo with Santa.

For many this activity is a wonderful and fun-filled experience. For others, it can be a terrifying and stressful disaster.

To help you through the rigors of getting that special photo with Santa, here are four key things to consider and a few helpful suggestions to make your experience a great success and your visit with Santa a wonderful experience:

1. Make it a fun activity – It should be like going to Disneyland. Dress comfortably. When it a fun activity. If the children are having fun, the photos will be more natural and much better.

Getting a photo with Santa is sometimes like getting a photo with your favorite movie or cartoon character at a theme park. It should be fun. When dressing your children, don’t force them to wear something they don’t like. This will only put them in a bad mood and it could show in your photo.

Of course, we know that these photos may be for grandma, or possibly for use on your Christmas card, so you do want your children dressed nicely. But, try to make it fun when selecting what to wear.

2. Give yourself plenty of time - Trying to rush creates tension and leads to stress. Set aside an entire morning or afternoon to make your trip to Santa, and maybe do some family shopping or sight seeing. When you have plenty of time, long lines and crowds are much easier to cope with.

3. Prepare your children - Make sure they are ready to visit Santa

A visit with Santa Claus can be quite scary for a small child. Not only is the concept of there actually being a Santa Claus hard for toddlers and babies to grasp, but they are also very attached to Mommy and Daddy. Not to mention, Santa Claus can be a bit scary the first time you meet him.

Here are some tips that will make your child's first visit with the big man a very pleasant one:

  • In preparation of going to see Santa Claus, read some books to your child about Santa. Let them see pictures of Santa, or watch a cartoon about Santa and his Reindeer.
  • Before actually taking your child to the line, let them observe how other kids are standing in line waiting to sit on Santa Claus' lap. This way, they are not surprised when you do get to the front of the line. This will also let you read your child's signals - to see if they are ready, emotionally.
  • When it is time for pictures with Santa Claus, if your child is too scared, consider doing a group photo with you holding your child or have your child stand next to Santa Claus.

Children are very good at sensing their parent's feelings. If you are afraid or nervous, your baby will pick up on that and react by crying or refusing to see Santa Claus.

  • And one last note for infants and babies, always place the baby or infant in Santa Claus' arms or lap. Never hand your baby to Santa's helper. The fewer people who handle your child, the less afraid he or she will be.

4. Talk to your children about the spirit of giving. Children may spend hours, days, even weeks thinking about what they will tell Santa and what they want Santa to 'give' to them for Christmas.

While driving to see Santa, or waiting in line, talk to you children about what Santa means. Simply stated, Santa represents, love, joy and giving. Whether you are Christian or not, you can explain to your children that Christmas is not, just a time for getting, but it’s really a time for giving. Sometimes, it's a time for secret giving.

Ask them if they know someone they should give something to. Would they like to give something secretly? Maybe your trip to visit Santa can also include shopping for some cards or gifts that your children can give to others. Introduce them to the joy of giving. It is a gift that they will someday thank you for.

By following these four little steps, Your trip to visit Santa will be less stressful and more meaningful to you and your children.

Here are some additional suggestions for your visit to Santa:

  • Before you leave the house, Santa recommends that you take along a few extra items. No matter how hard you try, children are always going to get a little mussed-up or dirty when going anywhere.

So you might want to bring along one or more of the following items: a comb and brush; hairspray; wet-naps or moist towelettes; bobby pins or barrettes for long hair.

We know that most parents are usually very good at keeping their children clean. But, in a hectic event like this, kids can surprise all of us.

  • The best photos are taken in the first fifteen seconds. Help Santa seat your children and then quickly back out of the photo area. After the photo, Santa can talk to the children.
  • The Introduction. The helper or assistant will sometimes greet the children and then escort and introduce them up to Santa.

Other times, especially with children 4 and older, the parent should escort their own children to Santa.

If you get this opportunity, be informal and when you get to Santa, introduce each of your children to Santa by saying, “Santa, here are Jamie and Susan.”

This is a wonderful way of breaking the ice and getting off to a good start.

  • If you have a newborn to six month old baby, you should take the baby up to Santa. Seat any other children in your family first and then give the baby to Santa last.

Then let the photographer take the photos. After the photo is taken, you can remove the baby and Santa can talk with the other children.

  • If your child is afraid of Santa, never force them to sit on Santa’s lap. This can be a very traumatic experience.

Taking a photo with a scared child takes teamwork between, the family, Santa’s helpers, Santa and the Photographer.

If your child is a toddler, hold them facing you, with the child’s back to Santa. Talk and chat with your toddler, distracting him or her from Santa as you walk up to Santa.

Then quickly set the child in Santa’s lap and quickly back out of the photo area while keeping your toddler’s attention with whistles, shouts, or whatever action to distract them from the fact that they are sitting in Santa’s lap.

The photographer can then quickly take the photo.

If the child is older, but still afraid, sometimes Santa can let them sit next to him in his chair or possibly by themselves, in his chair, (sometimes with mommy or daddy) and the photographer can then take the photo.

Sometimes Santa will try to sneak back into the photo, behind the family.

  • If your child is has a wet bottom, let Santa and his helpers know. Young children and babies often have no control, or are nervous, and will surprise all of us.

And, if Santa’s suit gets wet or soiled, everything has to stop while he changes or cleans up.

Ask Santa’s helper if you can pass on your photo until your child is changed. The helpers and photographer should give you the courtesy to come back to the front of the line when you are ready.

  • If you have your own camera, mention to the helper or assistant that you want to take one or two of your own photos. Most malls will allow one or two additional photos after the mall photographer takes your photo, and while your child or children are talking to Santa.

Just remember, there are other families waiting in line. Allow the photographer to take the first photo. Then, while your child or children talk with Santa, you can take one or two additional photos. (If the line is short, and Santa has time, you might be able to take a few more photos if needed. But, always remember that others may be waiting in line.)

  • Everyone should try to have fun. There is no use is worrying about anything. Sometimes getting a photo with Santa involves a hot day, long lines and lots of crying babies and noisy children. If you are prepared for this, then anything less is like cookies and milk.

Here's hoping that you have a wonderful time and that you get some great photos. Have a wonderful Holiday Season

©Copyright 2003, RealSantas.com

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Santa Timothy Connaghan, MSC, Rbs