Parenting.com has provided this article including things parents can do to make for a pleasant visit with Santa. Based on my Santa-photo expertise I’d say it’s a darn good list. However, they have missed a few of the “What Not To Dos” so I’ve taken the liberty of spelling them out myself.
What not to do when taking your child to visit Santa:
- Do not ask Santa to put on his hat and coat in a 68 degree shopping mall. He’ll got hot, sweaty, and consequentially stinky. This odor will offend your children and possibly make them cry.
- Do not dress them up in fancy Christmas outfits. Children know that when you force them into sparkly dresses and sweater vests that something unpleasant awaits. Example: church.
- Do not get your hopes up. It is best to approach Santa photos with low expectations. In the off chance that your photo turns out to be a keeper, then you’ve got something to be merry about.
Many children suffer from Santa-phobia at some point during their young lives. Sure, the concept of a jolly fat man who brings presents seems great and all, but a child’s encounter with St. Nick can be, well, terrifying.
Today, a young boy, probably about 5 years old, was afraid of Santa. Nothing unusual there. However, said boy knew the importance of delivering his wish list to the man in the red suit. On the first go he attempted to shout his list at Santa while maintaining a safe distance. His second strategy was to use his mother as a pawn by pushing her towards Santa thinking she would deliver the list on his behalf. After a brief recess at the play land, he returned for his third and final approach. He dashed across the set, flailing his list in the general direction of Santa and exited the set never to be seen again. Mission accomplished.
To many, the preservation of Christmas traditions is of the utmost importance. For example, one of my most-cherished family traditions is watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation around a box of pizza. However, I’ve learned over the years that sometimes you have to let old traditions go and start new ones (like building a miniature toy shop with your Lego-obsessed boyfriend). So in honor of starting new traditions, here is a list of new traditions at the Santa set, and a few of the oldies-but-goodies as well.
- Answering to new a new Head Helper (manager) who smells like Jack Daniels and smokes like a chimney. Someone should tell her that Santa frowns upon smoking chimneys.
- Enforcing a new personal photography policy. “Yes, ma’am, you may take your own photos but you may not stand in the red-carpeted area, you cannot use your flash, and no, I do not know how to turn the flash off on your camera.”
- Wearing an apron without pockets. Where am I supposed to keep my Candy Cane chap stick?
- This exchange between Santa and me: Me - “Okay now everybody say cheese!”, Santa - “She’s from Wisconsin. Can’t you tell? All she can talk about is cheese. Next time let’s say ‘cookies’!”
- Snapping photos of toddlers who are so deathly afraid of Santa that they silently scream for a worrisome 10 to 15 seconds until they suddenly inhale sharply and then really start to let the decibels loose.
- Feeling sorry for myself because my 4-year Philosophy degree has brought me to this. I’m a Christmas elf who can’t get a full time job to save her life or her holiday sanity.
This month Santa Claus makes his big arrival at shopping malls across the nation ready for another season of flash bulbs, screaming children, and lots of ho-ho-hos. He has grown out his beard, readied the reindeer, and filled his flask with eggnog prepared to enchant children of all ages and sell needless photo packages of all varieties. That’s where I come in.
I am Santa’s Helper back for a third season of merriment. I’m a multifaceted ‘elf’ armed with state-of-the-art shutter speed, high-quality printers, extra change, and a fake smile that makes my face hurt.
I come from a special breed of Helpers, as it requires a twisted amount of masochism to do what we do, Christmas after Christmas. Yet year after year, there is something that makes us come back. I’d like to tell you it’s that one precious moment when a child looks into Santa’s eyes and believes, but it’s really the fact that it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and I need some extra cash.