Oh it’s the most wonderful time of the year, is it not? The end of the year is in sight, the Christmas carols are blaring, the weather is warm and holidays are so close you can almost smell them, but there’s one thing you have to get through first: the dreaded Santa photo.
It can be enough to strike fear in even the merriest parents. Will your kid crack it? Will there be an all-out meltdown (theirs or yours?), will the kid pull off Santa’s beard and risk exposure to the other children, will you pay all that money just to end up with a photo of your kid screaming or worse – no photo at all? And these days with social media thrown into the mix, there’s even more pressure to get the perfect snap.
Here are our 11 tips for surviving the Santa photo
…with your sanity and dignity intact, and for maybe, possibly, hopefully nailing the perfect snap.
- Many of the more popular places let you book ahead in order to save lining up in massive queues – because we all know kids and queues do not mix. If you can’t book, try and opt for off-peak times i.e during the week will be less busy than the weekends – and the closer it gets to Christmas the busier it’s likely to get.
- And speaking of timing, try and plan your visit around naps and feed times so you don’t have tired/hangry kids on your hands.
- That said, always carry snacks – snacks for the queue and snacks for bribing and distraction
- Come with an arsenal of tricks in your bag, a favourite toy or perhaps something new and shiny or even bubbles, especially if have a known Santa-meltdown-offender on your hands. These days a lot of the staff tend to be experts in distraction and come with props and toys for the very thing – but it never hurts to be over-prepared.
- Outfit choice is key, make sure you don’t pop the kids in anything that will annoy/irritate/cut into them and make them grumpy (we know the Insta shot is dying for it but be practical here). It also doesn’t hurt to come prepared with a back-up in case they spill something on themselves right beforehand – you could even get them dressed just before the shot but that’s serious commitment.
- Toilet stop/nappy change prior – avoid any possible accidents with a quick stop at the parents room beforehand – we’re sure Santa won’t appreciate getting handed a stinky kid or worse soiling his red suit…
- When it comes to the actual photo, if your kid is younger or a first-timer, it can help to back them towards Santa so they’re facing you and see your face (and here’s where the sparkly distractions from point #4 come in).
- Don’t let them see other kids freaking out, as it tends to be contagious. But do make sure you let them see other kids who are having fun, laughing and enjoying themselves.
- Before you plan to go and see Santa, spend a few days getting them excited for it, read books and sing songs and get them familiar with Santa (the fact that he brings them presents is usually a pretty good selling point).
- If you have time, walk past Santa a few times and get them to see him from a distance.
Remember, if all of the above fails, there is no perfect Santa photo. The meltdowns make for hilarious stories and funny memories you’ll all look back on and laugh at, so embrace the chaos, don’t stress about it and worst case… you can always fake it with a Christmas filter.
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