Preparing your child for a Santa Photo Experience. Our Top 5 Tips
Australians love Christmas. Think of some of Christmas themed location names like Christmas Island, Christmas Creek, Christmas Hills, and Christmas Town; Shepherds’ and Wisemans’ Creek; or Snowball and Snowtown (ABS 2006). Considering that 1 in 5 of Australian has never experienced snow, our fondness for a white Christmas and all the traditional imagery is quite phenomenal.
The allure extends to pictures with Santa, especially Santa photography with our children. However, this can be a stressful time for both parents and children if you are unprepared. We share our top tips on how to prepare you, and your children, for pictures with Santa. These are simple steps that will make the experience fun! Like how to prepare your children before the photoshoot; what to take at the photoshoot; and how to get your children to pose for the picture.
Note that strict COVID-19 protocols for Santa photos in 2020 are in place to ensure a smooth process. Check out the creative ways we are addressing social distancing!
This said, there are certain things to keep in mind when preparing your child for the yearly picture with the big bearded guy in red and white. Here are our Top 5 Tips!
#5 Get them excited!
During the weeks before the photoshoot, read a Christmas book, sing Christmas songs and practice what to say to Santa.
#4 Visit Santa prior to your booking
If you have an opportunity to visit the photo set prior to your booking, visit the Santa stage and say hi! Your child will have the opportunity to wave and say hello to Santa, his elves, and Mrs. Claus. This will prepare the child for the environment on the day of the photo shoot and make it less overwhelming.
#3 Comfortable outfit
What to do on the day of the photoshoot, may make or break the photo session. The preparation on the day will make the picture with Santa either a memorable experience for your family or an ordeal best to be forgotten.
Most importantly, make sure your child is wearing comfortable clothes. No matter how much you paid for your toddler’s lovely fairy dress if it’s uncomfortable your child will look more like a troll than a fairy on the picture as you deal with the ensuing meltdown.
#2 Bring a cleaning kit
Preparing your child on the day of the photo with Santa will help. Talk about the previous (positive) visit with Santa, the Christmas book you’ve been reading and make sure you have plenty of time before your booking. Don’t rush! You want to be calm.
Bring a brush, baby wipes, and the likes. That chocolate ice cream you decide to use as a bribe may end up smeared through your child’s hair (and yours). No amount of Photoshop will save the day.
#1 Be ready to step in
Keep children busy by bringing along a book, a tablet, or headphones to listen to Christmas music. If there’s a line-up, leave one of the adults in line whilst you walk around with the child for distraction. Make sure you are back at your appointed time or you may get a chilly Christmas stare-down from other parents.
Ensure that you are dressed as if you were also having your picture taken. You may well have to jump in with your child if all else fails!
Preventing “The” meltdown
We’ve all been there, the slightly wide-eyed look and a hesitant smile that turns into a nervous giggle and then… Wait for it…
… The meltdown of all meltdowns…
This is normal.
Our children spend their formative years hearing us hammering the “Stranger Danger” mantra and now we expect them to quietly sit on a strange big fluffy bearded man, dressed in a funky outfit.
Their growing little minds are screaming: “What the? Who wears velvet in the middle of summer”? And then the dam bursts with catastrophic results!
A few tactics to keep in mind:
Want to see Mummy juggle?
If the children ahead of you seem a bit distressed, keep your child’s attention away until it’s safe to look again. You’ll avoid a potential enabling event for your child.
I’ll just stand thank you
Never force your child to sit on Santa’s lap (although this year there will be strict social distancing in place). This is not necessary to make a memorable picture as there are various ways that Santa can interact without your child sitting on Santa’s lap.
Where do elves come from?
Remind your child the questions they have been practicing for Santa. This will keep them occupied with something concrete to focus on whilst the picture is being set up.
In essence, the close to 15 years of taking children’s pictures with Santa has taught us that the key to a positive memorable experience for your child, is to plan in advance. This will prepare you for any drawbacks on the day of the photoshoot.
We highly recommend to pre-book (although this year pre-booking will be mandatory). This will mitigate unforeseen waiting times.
Luckily Santa photography around Australia is available from early November. So plan ahead! We recommend off-peak times such as earlier in the Christmas season and early mornings to miss the crowds. This will create a more memorable experience for your children and of course, yourself.
See where your closest location for your Santa Picture.