Here are some suggestions to help your visit from Santa go smoothly:
Have your cameras ready! Be sure to have all the film or digital storage devices, videotape and batteries necessary to take the photos you want or need to get. Be sure to recharge your camera batteries.
Think about photos you'll want! Santa is happy to get all the photos you want. Kids of all ages like to have their pictures made with Santa, so be sure to include grandma, grandpa and the teenagers. Family group pictures are good also and make great Christmas cards!
If parking is tight, please reserve a special parking place for Santa, close to where he will enter the party. This is especially important on inclement days or nights! Don't forget…… Santa is a senior citizen, so he will appreciate this very much.
Have your gifts ready! If Santa is to bring presents in for children or guests, they should be well labeled, and fit into one 35-gallon trash bag. Any more and it may be too heavy or awkward for him to bring in. We all know of Santa's "Magic Bag."……. you know the bag that holds tons of toys and gifts and only weights ten pounds. Well that bag only works its magic on Christmas Eve! If you have more than one bag, check with Santa and see if there is a way to have some of the gifts near his chair before he arrives or if there is a way for him to have "Helpers" to bring the extra gifts in. Gifts should be securely wrapped and the recipient's name should be on a gift tag which is securely attached to the gift or the name should be written on the gift wrapping with a black marker…something easy for ole Santa to read in low light! Don't forget that your handwriting may be recognized, so make the effort to get someone else to write the names or ??? Gifts should NOT be in gift bags….they will tumble around and fall out in Santa's bag and gifts will get mingled together!!
Get everyone together, before Santa enters. Timing is everything. Santa may only be there for a set amount of time and if everyone is scattered around the house, office, restaurant, country club (you get the idea) you lose valuable time. Santa and you can coordinate. He should call you when he is five minutes away from arriving. That's your cue to get everyone together, maybe to sing some Christmas Carols, and to have someone go outside to meet Santa. If Santa is to bring in presents, the person meeting him can help fill Santa's bag. Then, at the right moment, Santa can pop in and join everyone in their singing. If you have a large group of children to see Santa, you should assign someone to be Santa's helper and coordinate the order of children as they each visit Santa.
Have a sturdy chair for Santa to sit in. Folding chairs and low chairs (the one's you sink into) are not good. Santa usually likes a chair that is sturdy and stable. A good straight-back dining chair works well. No armchairs please. In order to have children sit on his knee Santa must sit-up "wide" and on the edge of the chair. He should be able to sit comfortably and have a child on each knee.
Place the chair near your Christmas tree or maybe in front of a fireplace, with stockings hanging, or any festive type of backdrop. Your photos will have more impact when the background has a festive look. Place a wreath, a few Christmas cards or your children's drawings on the mantle or wall to make a wonderful difference. Leave a couple of feet between the chair and the tree or wall. This will allow room for other to gather around and behind Santa's chair for group photos. If Santa's chair is near the fireplace, please don't have a fire….it'll be much too hot!
We suggest the room temperature be set at 70 degrees or lower. Even in winter a room full of people will get very hot in a short time.
If there is a balance or payment due to Santa, place 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." If Santa is picking up gifts outside, that's a good place to leave the envelope, but make sure it's visible…on top of the gifts, etc.