Spot the dud: How to get the BEST Santa photo with your kids

Kinderling News & Features

It’s almost Christmas photo time. 

And while that’s a lovely tradition in our family, marking the official start of Christmas, we’ve been let down in recent years. 

In short -  we keep getting dud Santas!

What do I mean by 'dud'? 

Well, to be honest, some of them can be a little creepy! When they're disconnected, with a weird laugh and completely unable to speak to a child, you know you're not on a winner. Hint: You have one job, big guy! 

Of course, it’s not always Santa’s fault. 

Planning with little ones is everything. And while I excel in outfit selection and enthusiasm, I'm also probably guilty of not getting the logistics exactly right.

Last year was particularly bad, with our one-year-old completely losing it after getting inside the Santa cave and refusing to look at the camera. Or even to look at me, despite my best clicking and waving from the sidelines. 

All this after a looong wait in the queue, of course. 

The previous year, he completely slept through it on Santa’s arm. 

Keen to avoid a repeat of either experience this year, I asked a group of fellow mums what they do to ensure they get the best Santa photo on the day. Here's their best advice!

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1. Get there early

A super-organised friend suggested going in November … but being clever about timing is good too. Avoid peak hour (11am - 3pm) if possible. 

2. Go mid-week if you can

And don’t do ANYTHING too exciting or strenuous beforehand. The calmer your child, the smoother the process will go.

3. Make sure they are fed and have had a nap

This is such a good tip. It's never fun taking cranky, tired and hungry children anywhere!

4. Fully explain what's about to happen

Use visuals if needed, so they feel comfortable and know what's going to happen. All those people, the noise and the flashing camera, the big weird guy in the red suit ... it's no wonder they get a little freaked out.

5. Go for the Santa with the real beard

Apparently he’s more authentic (so said many a mum).

6. Sultanas!

Take a packet with you. They work a treat in every scenario!