As a new mom, I’m starting to realize how much fun there is to be had with Baby Jack. But I wasn’t so sure “fun” would also apply to standing in line at my local mall – with all the other parents and babies – just so my baby could take a snapshot with Santa.
Our hour… yes, hour… in line gave me plenty of time to observe the whole process . And as it turns out, Jack decided to keep himself off the naughty list and give us the gift of the seriously adorable photo you see here. So, I thought I’d share my best advice for making your own child’s photo-op with that fat jolly man a cheerful one!
- Dress to the nines. It was such a hoot seeing all of the babies and toddlers in line rocking their festive outfits. It’s the one thing I actually wish I’d gotten a little more creative with. There were kids in reindeer hats, tacky sweaters, cute graphic tees and even elf shoes. It is a special ocassion after all, and think of how much fun it’ll be to
embarassimpress your grown up child by showing him how cute he was when he was just a tiny little thing
- Bring in backup. Don’t try to take on this task alone. Since your wait is likely to be as long as mine was, bring someone with you for relief. We’d only been in line for about 20 minutes when Baby Jack decided to leave a nice, warm present in his diaper… and then he decided he was hungry. So, the hubby stayed with the stroller while I took baby for a diaper change and nursing session. This could also be useful if one of the parents needs a quick potty, or coffee, break.
- But don’t bring an entourage! Backup is one thing, but bringing along the whole fam damily is another. If your child gets shy around Santa, the fewer people to reach for the better. Believe it or not, Mom tends to be the last one to go rushing in to grab baby once he starts crying. Grandma and Auntie, on the other hand, may scoop him up too soon. And, from what I witnessed, once a scared baby is off of Santa’s lap, he ain’t going back!
- Don’t become a crazy hype man or woman. For the older kids, it’s great to get them excited by telling them, “There’s Santa!” or, “It’s almost our turn!” But if you make it too much of a big deal, you may start to actually make your child nervous about the big, important event that’s about to go down. Then when they finally get to the front of the line the stage fright kicks in!
- Let the photographers do their job. The people snapping the photo are trained to work with children. When we made it to Santa, the photog had a huge bucket of age appropriate toys to get the kids to smile. He grabbed Baby Jack’s attention with a light up ball and then kept tickling him with it. As you can see, it worked! He was laughing and smiling so much he didn’t even notice the flashes of the camera or the strange bearded man holding him. This gives you the chance to stand back and follow the next tip:
- Enjoy the moment! Unfortunately, our little ones won’t be little forever. And unless you plan on dragging your teen to the mall for a snapshot, your years of this are limited. So try to be present in the moment. Watch as your sweet, innocent little child lights up and gets to visit with the most magical of men. Now, if your experience is more: Watch your crying, scared little child freaks out and gets to visit with the scariest dude ever… read on.
- Be open minded about the “perfect” shot. So maybe your child ends up screaming like crazy. Maybe your photo shows a red faced kid with snot bubbles sitting on a horrified Santa’s lap. Guess what? You didn’t waste your time, you just got a photo you’ll all be laughing about for years to come. Why do you think we all love websites like Awkward Family Photos? They’re tons of fun! And if you’re really bummed about the final product, you can always try again another day. Good luck and Happy Holidays!
Have you taken your child to see Santa yet? How did it go? Got any tips to share?