10 tips for getting a good photo with Santa

santa
santa 

Your family might have been singing about the fact he's coming to town for weeks, and your child could have a present wishlist as long as their arm to share with him. But that is no guarantee your son or daughter will smile sweetly for the camera when it comes time to have their photo taken with Santa Claus. 

In fact, if you get through the first 10 years of your children's lives without at least one picture of them screaming or trying to escape from the photo while the big man in red does his best to appear jolly, you should consider yourself lucky.

For those of us who are not so fortunate, here are 10 tips to give you the best possible chance of capturing the picture perfect Santa photo.

1. Get them excited. Read books about Santa, sing songs about Christmas and speak about what they want to tell Santa when they get to sit on his knee. The more prepared and knowledgeable they are, the less likely it is they will get distressed.

2. Visit the shopping centre and say hello to Santa in the lead-up to the big photo day. This helps children familiarise themselves with the local Santa and his surroundings and gives them something to visualise when you talk about your upcoming visit. If Santa isn't too busy, he will be happy to say hello, which will help further ease your children's nerves before the big day arrives.

3. Dress them in comfortable clothes. You may have shelled out a small fortune for a gorgeous frilly red and green Christmas dress, but the outfit will not help if the zipper is digging in and making your child uncomfortable and grumpy before you even get to Santa. Let them choose their outfit if it will make the day easier. 

4. Don't let your children see those ahead of them upset while on Santa's lap. If children notice a child in front of them crying or screaming while on Santa's lap, they will assume there is something to be frightened of. Take a Christmas book to read to them as a distraction while you are in the line or bring headphones with Christmas music  for them to listen to. If possible, go with two adults so one can wait in line, while the other takes the children away until it's their turn. 

5. Have your Santa photo taken at the shopping centre's quietest time. The earlier in the festive season the better, as queues inevitably grow longer every day as December 25 approaches. Also, weekday mornings are a much better option than lunchtime on a weekend. 

6. Don't let anyone grab your child from you to take them to Santa. It is daunting enough for them to be placed on Santa's knee by you - it will confuse them further if someone else takes them from your arms first.

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7. Take some Christmas props. A crying child can sometimes be distracted if they have a candy cane to hold or a stuffed reindeer to cuddle. Most Santas will have some items aimed at cheering up crying children, but there's no harm in coming prepared with a favourite toy.

8. Be calm. Don't get stressed or angry as your child will pick up on your mood and it will only make the situation worse. If you realise you are fighting a losing battle and your child is becoming too distressed, don't make them sit on Santa's lap as it might make them more frightened of him in future years.

9. Make sure you wear something you are happy to be photographed in. Whether you like it or not, if your child refuses to sit on Santa's knee without screaming the shopping centre down or pulling the poor old guy's beard off you may well end up in picture yourself, sitting next to Santa with your angel on your lap. If you are wearing your oldest clothes and haven't done your hair you won't be happy showing the photos to anyone - even if you did end up getting your child to smile in the end. 

10. Last but not least, don't be too disappointed. Remember there's always next year - and you can comfort yourself with the realisation you and your grown child will one day look back and laugh at photo of them screaming on Santa's lap.