At any other time of the year, the thought of waiting an hour or more in a busy line with unsettled, hungry children and dozens of other families would send most parents running for the hills. However, throw in the words “Santa” and “Christmas” and all of a sudden it sounds like a perfect idea! Santa photos are a popular yearly tradition but can also be a stressful time for all involved.
Below are our best tips to help you through the day so you can hopefully leave your session with a wonderful Santa photo and memory!
Santa Photos Tip 1: Bring Spare Clothes!
Choosing the right outfit for Santa photos is a very important task which many parents ponder over for weeks before hand. Do I dress them all the same? Matching colours? Christmas themed outfits? Whichever outfit you decide to go with, make sure you have a backup outfit on hand with you. We all know kids, even if you have covered all bases, they find a way to get messy super easily!
If possible having them in every day clothes in the lead up to the photos is ideal. This way they can run amok and change into their photo clothes just before the photos and be clean and ready.
Santa Photos Tip 2: Book for after Breakfast or Lunch
Even if you have a booked in time for your photos the chances that you will have to wait in line because they are delayed are quite high. Making sure that you go after a good meal means the kids will hopefully be more content and able to wait without too much hassle or constantly bugging you for things to do and eat.
Santa Photos Tip 3: Bring Snacks
In the event that you do need to wait and haven’t had a full meal recently, snacks are a great way to settle (read: bribe) the kids. If you are packing snacks, try to avoid messy foods and stick to easy to eat and mess free foods such as fruit (but not any that stain!), muesli bars and sandwiches. Having snacks on hand will help to keep the children settled and focused. And don’t forget wipes!
Santa Photos Tip 4: Activities
If you are at a very popular photo place then you need to be prepared to entertain the kids. They are very unlikely to just stand and wait quietly in the line – how we wish they would! Having books, tablets or pencils to occupy them will help. Obviously, you cannot set up a huge assortment of activities but things that they can do whilst standing in the line will help the time to go quicker.
Time for the Photo!
Once it is your time for the photos, this is when the tears, tantrums and excitement can kick in. You might have done all you could to prepare the kids and let them know what to expect and they might have seemed okay with it….until the moment actually arrives!
The staff at most of the photo booths are great and have worked with kids for a number of years so they know how to handle all sorts of behaviours. Reminding your little ones that it is going to be fun, happy and exciting will help.
If the tears start and they do not want to be in the photo, jump in with them! There is no harm in a parent being in the photo and it makes for a great memory and story to tell down the track. Some Santa’s will play along and there have been numerous photos shared on social media of Santa crying with the kids, or Santa hiding behind the chair. These can sometimes end up more special than the perfect posed photo!
At the end of the day, your ‘perfect’ Santa photo may not be what you envisioned, however it will still be perfect whichever way it turns out. So try not to stress and enjoy the moment! A photo with your little ones is a photo to be cherished, and if there are tears or red faces or kids trying to run away (have seen those ones as well) then there is always next year. Just think of how embarrassed they are going to be when you bring that photo out at their 21st birthday 😉
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Catherine Nelson-Williams is the author of this article and founder of The Nursery Collective. She is a mum of two and juggles being a WAHM with blogging and running The Nursery Collective – a haven for mamas navigating the early years of motherhood, where you can find unique boutiques and services for Mum, Baby & Kids all in the one place.