Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tips for Visiting Santa

For many of us Christmas isn’t complete without visit with Santa, and a picture with him with the kids.

I spent a number of years as Santa at a mall here in Texas and had a wonderful time, and I would like to share some of my experiences.

To start with there’s a good chance the little ones are going to be scared, and for good reason. From the time they can comprehend language we warn them about strangers and read them stories about Big Bad Wolves. The little’s known good and well they’ve never seen anyone like me before. They also figure anything with that much hair on its face just might be a wolf!

If they are nervous, one of the best things to do is just stand near Santa’s stage and let them watch for a bit.

The worse thing to do is force then. The result is a screaming, hysterical child. I would think no one would want a picture of a terrified, crying baby begging its parents to save it from Santa. You would be surprised how many of them I posed in.

Another problem is that crying is contagious. You can watch the ripple effect in Santa’s line as one child after another starts crying. Santa doesn’t get upset with a frightened child, but its coal and switches for those parents.

Everyone knows Santa is magic. He see’s all, knows all, and never forgets a face, and then there’s me. I believe the slowest day I ever had, I saw one thousand children. There are those who stand out, but for the most part it a blur.

Most of the time Santa listens to a kid’s wish list, gives them a candy cane, and sends them on their way. Other times it’s a fact finding mission, and that’s fine, but tell us first. A father once asked me after his daughter left the stage what she wanted for Christmas. The only thing I could remember what that she liked horses.

Santa has posed with his share of high school foot players and cheer leaders. Personally, I never objected to teenagers visiting with me, provided they kept things respectful and didn’t spoil the fun for the little’s.

Last, please understand sometimes, visiting Santa takes a little longer. There was the little boy who wanted his father to come home from prison. There was the little girl who wanted her late grandmother back. Both of these were young enough to think I could actually help. You don’t shove a candy cane in their hand and kick them off the stage after that. Santa also needed a moment, folks shouldn’t see him cry either.

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