From the 900 Shops Santa archives:
"Once I had a 15- and a 16-year-old kid, and we were
talking. And it was kinda strange because these older kids they sat
down on my lap, and they said this is their mother's Christmas
present. It was sweet."
"I had one little girl, sweet little thing, 3 years old,
and she's looking at me and I'm looking at her. I ask her if
there's anything else she wants to say. And she says, 'Yes Santa.'
Then she turns around and says, 'Daddy, I've got poopy
"This one boy said he wanted me to bring his neighbor some
toys because he never gets anything, and then he asked for things
for his parents. And then he says, 'Santa can I please have 99 cars
and trucks?' I asked him why not 100? And he said to me, 'Oh no,
Santa. That would be selfish.'"
Dressing your kids in their best holiday garb,
placing them on Santa's lap and snapping a photo sounds easy
enough, but we know that's not always the case. Before you open the
ribbon drawer and start digging around for the one pair of tights
without a hole in it, we have some tips for smoother sit-down on
the big guy's lap.
Before meeting Santa
Toting along your little ones down to Michigan Avenue and
standing in what seems to be an endless line can be hard on your
kids, so make sure they take a nap, eat a snack and use the
bathroom before heading out. Imagine being the one parent whose
child isn't whining to go to the bathroom.
Seeing Santa up-close and personal, especially for the
first time, can be a little daunting. "I can't tell you how many
times kids have cried on Santa's lap," says Sarah Burrows, the
marketing director in charge of setting up the Santa meet-and-greet
every year at the 900 Shops.
Minimize meltdowns by prepping your kids and letting them
know what to expect before the visit, and make sure you are
properly armed with emergency food and bribes.
And of course, have that list ready.
Remember those bribes? In the event of a brewing tantrum,
now would be the time to use these. Snacks, treats, stickers-pull
out all the stops and use what works best on your child. Stopping a
deteriorating situation in its tracks will prevent stress on your
part and a puffy-eyed, runny-nosed picture. We're positive your
fellow parents in line will thank you, too.
On Santa's lap
You've already trekked the Oregon Trail to get to this
point. Now all you would like is to document your kid experiencing
some holiday cheer and be on your merry way home ASAP. This is
where parents make the most costly mistake of all: forcing your kid
onto Santa's lap.
If your child is apprehensive, let him or her get a little
more comfortable. Let them wait to the side and see siblings or
other children approach Santa first. "Forcing the little ones is
not a good idea," says Christopher Spears, a Santa by trade for
more than 36 years. "Just let them take their time."
The second most common mistake Spears sees parents make is
threatening their kids. Telling your kids to smile for the camera
or they can forget about presents is not the way to go. "Make it a
nice event, a positive thing," Spears says. Remember, the goal is a
fun and memorable trip for your kids, not a stress-filled photo
Finally, if all else fails...
Go with the moment. Whether your toddler's steadily
wailing or your 6-month-old is fast asleep, capture it. It may not
be the picture you expected, but we're sure it will be hilarious,
precious and memorable in its own way.
Let us plan your weekend with the best family events and activities in Chicagoland.
Start the week right with deals, prizes, parent life hacks and more delivered straight to your inbox.
Need last-minute ideas for a weekend of family fun? No worries. We've got you.
Get the inside scoop on the people, places and things we are loving right now.
Resources, tips, inspiration and more for parents of children with special needs.
Score exclusive offers from our fabulous advertisers.