Tips for First-Time Santa Pics

Pictures with Santa are a holiday tradition for most, but this photo opportunity takes more planning than you might think.

Entire websites are devoted to pictures of children screaming and crying on St. Nick’s lap. To avoid the meltdown, here are some simple tips:

  • Time it right. Avoid going near naptime or meal time. Ask the photographer what the least busy time of day is for him.
  • Know the special offers. Many locations have Fast Pass deals or call-ahead so you can jump to the front of the line.
  • Don’t overdress. A tie and vest may seem adorable, but if your child is uncomfortable he will let it be known. Christmas pajamas are comfortable and make a great Christmas photo outfit.
  • Bring plenty of snacks, books and toys for the line. A young child’s patience can only be stretched so far.
  • Do a dry run. Take your child to watch other kids visit with Santa a few days in advance. Knowing the routine eases anxiety.
  • Don’t use scary language. Telling your child “Don’t be scared, Santa won’t hurt you,” can backfire. Talk about how exciting it is to meet Santa and how fun it will be.
  • Distract with something familiar. You may not want that ratty pink bunny in the photo, but it may help keep your child calm. You can introduce an reindeer or elf toy a few weeks ahead for a photo-friendly security blanket

Photos with Santa will get easier each year, but the first visit can be tricky. Talk to your child about Santa often and your excitement should rub off.