Do you dread the annual Santa photo with your kids? It’s hard enough just standing on line to get your picture taken, but when you finally do get there, your kids want nothing to do with the man in the red suit and white beard. Is Santa really that scary? I can remember my first Santa experience with my daughter. She was two, I was pregnant with my son and when we finally got to the front of the line, she lost it. I thought it would be best for her to see Santa before she walked up to him but all the “elves” said I should have backed her in. Then I would have gotten the “freak out” photo. It’s funny, so many people want that picture. I know I have one as a kid. But as it turns out, she would only take the picture if my husband and I were in the photo. So it was a family picture. What’s your secret to a good Santa photo? put together some tips on how to avoid the Santa photo stress thisy year. Do a dry run: Stop by the mall or Santa’s toy shop days before the picture and let your child see Santa from a distance. It will take away the shock the day of the photo. Carry supplies: Always have snacks, drinks and toys on hand. Distract: Bring a distraction like a toy or something to put in your child’s hands. This may take their mind off it for a moment. Be positive: ALways talk about Santa in a positive way. Don’t ever paint a scary picture of Santa. Bring a lovey: For a child, life is always better when you have a familiar friend by your side. My advice, always go as early as you can. As with anything, kids are best when they are not hungry or tired. So don’t go at lunch or nap time. And be flexible with when you go. If you kid wakes up in a cranky mood, maybe wait a day or so! Yes the Santa photo is a yearly ritual and may be a hassle. But you will enjoy looking back on it and so will your kids. I still hang a Santa photo of my sister and I when we were 4 and 3 — I smile everytime I see it! (None of these photos are of me or anyone I know — but they do make you smile, don’t they)

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