Are you one of those parents who feels obligated each year to dress your kids in red, and/or green, then to wait in line at the mall for 20+ minutes to get a pic of them with the big guy from the North Pole? Been there, done that. My own mall Santa days are over but, judging by the lines snaking through the food court last weekend, Santa photos are as popular as ever. And as challenging as ever.
This photo says it all. Last weekend I witnessed at least two meltdowns, numerous very whiny young customers, and countless stressed parents in the Santa line. Yes, the Santa photo is a cute inclusion in your Christmas card or addition to your refrigerator art collection, but getting that photo is not always smooth sailing for sure.
Writing for Parenting.com, Michell Hainer and Beth Weinhouse provide the following hints for a successful Santa photo op.
- Do a dry run. Let your kids see Santa a day or two before you go for the photo. This creates an element of familiarity that can only help.
- Don’t go empty handed. Bring toys and snacks – and lots of them.
- Distract. Photographer Jill Caren suggests putting a piece of tape on your child’s finger if he gets fidgety. Removing that tape will be such a distraction that he may not even register that he’s with Santa.
- Be positive. Be sure to frame Santa in a positive light. Don’t tell your child not to be afraid, this will introduce an association between Santa and fear. Instead, talk about how much fun it will be and show your child a photo of a sibling or relative sitting on Santa’s lap.
As with everything, timing is key. If you suspect any trouble getting your Santa pic this year, go early to avoid long lines, be sure nobody is hungry, and when all else fails – promise that candy bar when the photo is over and there’s no risk of ruining their holiday best.
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