From Santa Hollywood

Insight into Christmas, the Holidays and the World of Santa Claus

12 Secrets to a Fun Visit with Santa

posted by SantaTim On November - 26 - 2012 Comments Off on 12 Secrets to a Fun Visit with Santa

Helpful information from Santa, to make your trip and visit to Santa a lot easier, more fun and possibly more rewarding.

The annual visit to Santa is often a very special occasion for most families.  For some it is a ritual with traditions.  For others it’s a fun day for shopping and visits with an old friend, who just happens tohave a white beard and wear a red suit.  I hope your visit is fun, enjoyable and memorable.  —  Santa

Every December, and often times a few weeks before, millions of children begin thinking of an upcoming mission, a quest if you wish, as they plan their annual visit to the Man in the Red Suit.

With their parents as guides, the children embark on a trip to their local mall, or favorite department store, to meet with Santa Claus.  While there, the mission or quest is to give Santa their wishes and toy requests for Christmas Morning.  And somewhere during that visit the parents usually hope to get their annual photo of the occasion.

For many families this activity is a wonderful and fun-filled experience.  For others, it can be terrifying and stressful.

How do I know?  I’m Santa.  Yes, I have spent over forty years wearing that famous red suit.  And from my experiences, I would like to share some thoughts and suggestions on how you can enjoy your annual visit.  And maybe even make it more meaningful to you and your children.

Here are my twelve secrets to having a fun visit with Santa:

  1. Plan ahead, Prepare for your visit. Try to stay away from long lines or the busy times of the day.  The best time is generally mornings on weekdays, especially in the early weeks of December.  Once school is out, the morning advantage is gone.  The lines on most weekday mornings are generally shorter.  Also your children will be rested and less cranky.   We all know that a tired or hungry child is not very happy when having to wait in line.  
  2. Prepare your child/children for their visit with Santa. A visit with Santa Claus can be quite scary for a small child.  The concept of there actually being a Santa Claus is hard for toddlers and babies to grasp,and they are also very attached to Mommy and Daddy.  Not to mention, Santa Claus can be a bit scary looking at first. Seeing all that all-red suit and white beard, could put Santa in the child’s mind as an alien!  In preparing to visit Santa Claus, read some books to your child about Santa.  Let them see pictures of Santa, or watch some cartoons or videos about Santa . (Note: you might want to stay away from “Bad Santa” or the scene in the Christmas Story, where Santa gives Ralphie the boot down the slide!)
  3. Do not anticipate that your baby or child should be afraid or scared of Santa Claus . . . or they will be.  Children are very good at sensing their parent’s feelings. If you are afraid or nervous, your baby will pick up on that, and react by crying or refusing to see Santa Claus.
  4. When getting your children ready, make it a fun activity.  If they are having fun, the photos will be more natural.  Getting a photo with Santa is sometimes like getting a photo with your favorite cartoon character at a theme park.  It should be fun.
  5. Don’t force your child to wear something they don’t like.  This will just put them in a bad mood and it will show in the photo.  Yes, we know that your photos may be for grandma, or possibly for use on your Christmas card, so you really do want your children dressed nicely.  But, try to make it fun when selecting what to wear.  A mother once told me her solution to getting a good photo, was two visits to Santa.  The first visit was to allow the children a chance to talk to Santa and make their requests.  The second visit was for the formal photo.  She let Santa know this and he made it a point to invite the kids to come back for the official photo.
  6. Before you leave the house, Santa recommends that you take along a few extra items.  No matter how hard you try, children are always going to get a little mussed-up or dirty when going anywhere.  So you might want to bring along one or more of the following items: a comb and brush; hairspray; wet-naps or moist towelettes; bobby pins or barrettes for long hair.  We know that most parents are usually very good at keeping their children clean.  But, in a hectic event like this, kids will always surprise us.
  7. Give yourself plenty of time. Trying to rush creates tension and leads to stress.  Set aside an entire morning or afternoon to make your trip to Santa, and maybe do some family shopping or sightseeing.  When you have plenty of time, long lines and crowds are much easier to cope with.
  8. Before you get in line, let your children observe how other children are standing in line. Point out the area where Santa is sitting.  This way, they are not surprised when they actually get in line and eventually get to the front. This will also allow you to watch your child and read their body language, to see if they are ready, emotionally.
    When it is time for pictures with Santa Claus, if your child is too scared, you might want to consider a group photo with you holding your child or having your child stand next to Santa.  Some Santas are very experienced with frightened children and have ways of easing the fright and getting a good photo.  Work with Santa.
  9. The Introduction. Sometimes a helper or assistant will sometimes greet the children and then escort and introduce them up to Santa.  Other times you will get the honors.  And I recommend that with children 4 and under, parents always be allowed to escort their own children to Santa.   When this happens, be informal and when you get to Santa introduce your child or children by saying, “Santa, here is Tommy, or here are Jamie and Susan.”  This is a wonderful way of breaking the ice and showing the children Santa is not scary.
  10. Say hello to Santa First.  If there is still some fear of Santa, maybe you can shake Santa’s hand.  There is nothing wrong with a parent starting the visit with a hello to Santa, maybe even a little hand shake.  Sometimes a child seeing their parent and Santa as friends, helps the child to relax.
  11. If you have a baby or toddler you should carefully place the child in Santa’s arms. Newborn to six month old babies should be handed directly too Santa.  If there are other children, seat them first.  Then lastly, place the baby with Santa and step back so the photographer can take the photos.  After the photo is taken, you can remove the baby and Santa can talk with the other children.
  12. The best photos are taken in the first five seconds.  Help seat your children and then quickly back out of the photo area.   A good photographer should be ready to quickly grab that very special moment.  Sometimes a photographer can catch the baby or toddler before they know what is going on and start crying.   After the photo, Santa can talk to the children. One other suggestion for infants and babies, always place the baby or infant in Santa Claus’ arms. Never let Santa take the baby from you. It is always better if a parent places the child into Santa’s arms.
  13. Share and teach the meanings of Santa Claus and Christmas.  One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is teaching them the values of giving, sharing and helping others.  Explain that Santa or St. Nicholas’ work began with the idea of helping others and the custom spread to presenting gifts to Children and others on Christmas Morning.  Talk to your children about Santa and what he represents.  That Christmas is not always about “Getting,” it’s about “Giving,” too!  Sometimes Secret Giving!Ask them if they know someone they could surprise?  Would they like to give something secretly?  Maybe your trip to visit Santa can also include shopping for some cards or gifts that your children can give to others.  Introduce your children to the joys of giving and secret giving.  Who knows, the gift of joy, from helping or giving to others, may be the best gift they ever receive.   And maybe, someday, they’ll thank you.

In visiting Santa, everyone should try to have fun.  And, if you are prepared the visit will not only be fun, it will be rewarding, for your children, and for you too!   Make sure that you take the time to enjoy what this season is all about.

And don’t forget, you’re never too old to have wishes, or to sit on Santa’s Lap, and maybe even get a photo!

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©Copyright 2011, Timothy Connaghan,

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