Malls, lines, looking for that perfect parking spot in order to buy that perfect gift, the holidays can be nothing but aggravation. I’m sure almost no sane parent who could otherwise shop exclusively online would venture within 100 yards of a mall with kids in tow if not for that all important picture with Santa Claus. It’s worth the waiting and the whining to get that perfect picture that lasts a lifetime. But what happen when you wait and you wait only to find your child gets last minute stage fright and refuses to sit on Santa’s lap, or worse yet, flat out panics and pees their pants?
Fortunately, I have a friend in Hollywood who has worn almost every hat in the industry including the all important Santa hat. As a former Santa, Jason Lassen offers some tips for getting the perfect picture with Santa Claus. They are paraphrased here:
One: Test the waters. What do you do before you go into a pool? You cautiously put a toe into the water to see if it’s to your liking. Think of visiting Santa the same way. From a safe distance, see if your child is curious about Santa. If he seems to be then…
Two: Move closer to Santa – and it’s better if you don’t acknowledge him unless the child acknowledges him first. Now the best thing is if the Santa knows well enough to also follow a scared child’s lead. If the child says nothing, Santa should also say nothing. I’ve seen many a Santa scare a nervous child from a distance just by saying, “Hello.”
Getting close to Santa is one thing, sitting on his lap is a whole different ball game.
Three: With your child in hand, stand next to Santa. Good? Then…
Four: Kneel down next to Santa. Kid still not screaming? Moving on…
BONUS TIP – One parent should ALWAYS be at the ready. When I say at the ready, I mean that you have the camera framed up and finger on the button.
Five: Slowly – and I can’t stress this enough – slowly try placing your child on Santa’s lap and walk around in front of him. Hopefully your child will watch the parent who set them down and you’ll have a nanosecond where the child is on Santa’s lap, looking ahead for photos, and most importantly, not screaming. Don’t waste time, snap away. God love digital cameras!
There you have it. Easy. Take it slow and follow your child’s cues. You’ll get that perfect picture that will line the refrigerators of friends and family for years to come.
To read the Jason’s full blog on tips for the perfect picture with Santa as well as his other brilliant blogs on life in LA, visit Hollywood Clown.