Last year, we really lucked out in our photo experiences with Santa Claus. With a temperamental toddler who isn’t the most comfortable with strangers, we’ve definitely got our work cut out for us this year when it comes to taking awesome photos with Santa. After a bit of practical research, though, I’ve got some tips to share on how to convince your kids to take unforgettable photos with Santa Claus this year.
Preparing to Take Photos With Santa
It all boils down to preparation. You can’t just drop your kid into the lap of a strange man wearing a bright red suit with a huge white beard and expect them to smile and be happy about it. That just isn’t going to happen. And if it does, then you’re one of the lucky ones.
1. Familiarize Your Child With Santa.
Our local mall allows “practice visits” with Santa Claus to allow children to get to know him before it’s time for formal pictures. Take advantage of these practice visits early in the season, since the closer it gets to Christmas, the longer the line to visit will get. If you don’t have time to stop in and talk to Santa, make a point to walk by the display, asking your child to wave to Santa and say hello.
We’ve started talking to Andrew about Santa as often as we can. Remember, Andrew, Santa brings presents on Christmas to good little boys. Hey, Andrew! Are you going to ask Santa to bring you that awesome Lightning McQueen racer? We’ve talked about how Santa lives at the North Pole. That he drives a sleigh. What his reindeer are like. Andrew even knows what Santa looks like and can point out pictures of him in books.
That’s another thing you can do — read books about Santa to your child. When they see his picture and get to hear his story, he won’t seem like such a scary stranger!
2. Avoid Long Lines.
This may sound like common sense, but do your best to not wait until the last minute for your official photo with Santa. Again, the later it gets in the season, the longer the lines will be. Try to go one day during the week.
If that just won’t work, choose a place to visit that offers a reservation system. In Dallas, the Village at Fairview and Northpark Centre give patrons the chance to sign up for a time to meet Santa and avoid lines. You can also do the same thing at Bass Pro Shop, and they even offer a free photo.
And there’s always the option to have Santa come to you. My friend, Crystal, did this a few years ago, and her photos are adorable. What a fun family memory a house call from Santa would make!
3. Have a Happy, Well-Rested Child.
Toddlers can sometimes be hard to predict, so this one might be the hardest thing on the list. Before you go visit Santa, make sure that your child has had their nap. Fill their bellies so they won’t be hungry. Do they have a lovey that they carry with them all the time? Bring it. They can visit Santa, too. Those would probably make some really adorable photos.
4. Make a Plan.
When we took Andrew to meet Santa last year, we were total n00bs. Luckily, we have a veteran Santa who stepped in to make sure our photos turned out awesome. When we got to the front of the line, he told The Nerd to hold Andrew and face away from Santa — not letting Andrew see what was coming. The Nerd then backed up to Santa, put Andrew in his lap (still not letting him see who was holding him) and jumped out of the way so we could snap the photos. It was priceless. We got some great pictures of Andrew looking straight into the camera, and even one of him discovering just who was holding him.
If you think they’ll be scared, try a similar tactic with your little one. If they can’t see what’s coming, you just might get in a few good photos before the tears start.
5. Have Fun.
Remember that this whole experience is about watching your child meet Santa Claus. Sometimes, the best photos come when things don’t go perfectly and life just happens. During our trip to London last year, we stopped by Father Christmas’ Grotto at Harrods. It was the first time that Andrew had met Santa, and he refused to let go of me. So, The Nerd and I joined him for the photo. It’s actually quite hilarious, and you can even see Andrew grabbing my arm in it. Sometimes, you just have to go with the flow.
Now that you know how to get awesome photos with Santa, check out the best places to visit Santa in Dallas!
Do you have any tips on taking photos with Santa?