Here's What You'll Need to Do
Holidays are a time to celebrate, so let’s do just that! To make your experience EXTRODINARY follow the recommendations below
HAVE YOUR CAMERA READY
Be sure to have all cameras, camcorders and batteries necessary to take the photos you want. Be sure your batteries are fresh. Consider where Santa will be seated for pictures and take some sample shots at the same time of day. Alter the lighting accordingly. Don’t rely on flashes for the bulk of the lighting or red-eye is pretty much guaranteed. Also, make sure you know how to use your camera or camcorder since there is no worse time to learn than just after a once in a lifetime moment has passed!
CONSIDER SANTA’S ARRIVAL
Remember, Santa is a senior citizen and the suit is quite warm, so reserve a spot in the driveway or right in front of your house so he doesn't have to walk too far. Santa will call the designated cell phone as he arrives, appoint someone to help Santa get ready for his big entrance, have all the presents ready for Santa to load into his big toybag. Also remember that Santa’s hair and suit are quickly mussed by rain, so having a greeter with an umbrella is a good idea in wet weather.
HAVE YOUR GIFTS READY
Santa will hand out your candy and gifts and can carry in one bag of presents. Gifts should be labeled in a very legible handwriting, and if there are any challenging pronunciations they should be communicated to Santa before the event. Tags should be taped on well lest they fall off in Santa’s sack. It is also a good idea to write the names on the wrapping paper, preferably with a nice black Sharpie - just in case.
HAVE A SPECIAL CHAIR FOR SANTA
Folding chairs, plastic chairs, and low chairs (the one’s you sink into) are not good (remember, Santa's a senior citizen). Santa needs a chair that is sturdy and stable that will allow his thigh bone to be parallel to the floor, or the kids will slide off. A good, sturdy straight-back dining chair with no arms works well. He should be able to sit comfortably with the chair supporting him plus a child on each knee.
PLACE THE CHAIR IN A HOLIDAY SETTING
Maybe in front of the tree or a decorated wall or any festive type of backdrop, and your photos will have more impact. Place a wreath, a few Christmas cards or your children’s drawings on the wall to make a wonderful difference. Leave a foot or two between the chair and thetree or wall. This will allow room for others to gather around and behind Santa’s chair for group photos. Fireplaces do look nice but remember putting Santa too close to a real fire is not good for his comfort. For the best pictures, adjust overhead lighting and place table or floor lamps to adequately light the scene. Flashes should only be used to “fill” not to light the scene. Finally, having a clock in Santa’s view can help him to pace his visit.
SANTA NEVER BREAKS FROM HIS CHARACTER
This is very important and something most adults do without thinking about the implications. Please don’t say things to Santa such as “Why you’re one of the best Santas I’ve ever seen”. Don’t ask questions about when he started playing Santa or where did he get his costumes. It’s very important that you treat me as Santa Claus and not as someone that plays Santa Claus. Also, Santa is a wholesome, child-oriented character. Please instruct your guests to not compromise that image by having Santa hand out adult only gifts, or behaving in a lewd manner either with or in the presence of Santa. Please help keep the wonder of Christmas alive for your children and others.
GATHER BEFORE SANTA ENTERS
Timing is everything. Santa’s contracted time begins the minute he arrives. Minutes spent getting everyone together are part of your contracted time. If everyone is scattered around the house, you lose valuable time. You and Santa can coordinate so that he should call when he is five minutes away from arriving. That’s your cue to have someone go outside to meet Santa, and for you to get everyone together and maybe to sing some Christmas Carols. If Santa is to bring in presents, the person meeting him can help him fill his bag. Then, at the right moment, Santa can pop in.
Santa wants to give his full attention to each child, not to managing an “operation”. If you have a large group of children to see Santa, you should assign someone to be Santa’s helper and coordinate the children as they each visit Santa. Mention each child's name and Santa will be paying attention so he can address them by name. This helper can check for dirty hands, use sanitizing wipes if necessary, help with sorting and distributing gifts, and help to ease nerves and pose the children for photos. And Santa wants to include everyone. Yes, some teenagers will shy away or think it is too childish to have a photo with Santa. Don’t worry; Santa can stand up for a “buddy” photo. What about grandma and grandpa? Take a photo with Santa and Grandma hugging. And, nothing is more fun than having Santa ask Grandpa if he’s been a good boy.
CONCLUSION OF THE VISIT
Santa cannot be a clock-watcher, so if the host notices that time is running short an interjection of “Hey Santa, how about a story” can signal the end is near. Santa always likes to end his visit with a retelling of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Know that at the end of the story Santa will make his exit wishing a “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night”. If there is a balance due to Santa, place it inside a Christmas card or envelope. It never looks appropriate when someone gives cash to Santa. So, as Santa is departing, hand him the envelope and say, “Thank you Santa, and here is a Christmas card from all of us” or “is it too late for my wish list?”.
I hope this list will help you plan and execute your vision of the perfect home visit from Santa, and I sincerely thank you for enlisting me to help you realize that vision..