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We’ve just done the obligatory Santa photos with Miss Sunshine and Chubby Chuckles. Of course one child howled. At least one always does.

I’m not sure why we (parents, grandparents) do this. We insist on thrusting small and often anxious children and babies on to the laps of complete strangers in red suits and silly hats, their faces largely hidden by swathes of white flowing hair, ringing bells and ho ho ho’ing, then dart away suddenly so as not to be in the photo, and expect the kids to think this is a fun exercise and that they should be beaming with happiness during the entire process. So much for stranger danger.

This effort was certainly more successful than previous ones.

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This year we visited Santa at Majura Park, and for a gold coin donation to the Children’s Hospital (well, I’m not sure which one actually but it doesn’t matter), you actually get to take the photos yourself. Which means you get to take a few, reducing the risk of closed eyes, strange looks and howling faces, and if you luck any good ones, you can share them willy nilly if you want.

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And it must be said that Santa himself was a cheery and very authentic looking chap of a suitable age. Shopping centre Santas really do seem to have been drinking from the fountain of youth in recent years, and getting skinnier to boot. Where is Mrs Claus when you need her to fatten up her man with the required quantities of Christmas pudding?

We did get a couple of keepers with one happy child, and this one to make me happy.

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Far more successful than the previous year’s professional photographic shoot with a nearly two year old which resulted in an apoplectic meltdown of outstanding proportions and not one usable picture. Not one. Although this one is good just for the memories.

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Complete reshoot required, as long as that wicked, horrible, disgusting red dress was not involved in any way.

Reshoot complete success! (Note, there’s a white dress the second time.)

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Who’d have thought it was the same child? And we then pretend that the previous disastrous episode entailing enraged screams, anger, a face redder than the red dress, much crying and trauma, and a reasonable amount of spit and snot, never occurred. Because the child is always angelic and loves to play happily with silver baubles while dressed as an elfin assistant. And that those other 456 shots just don’t exist.

Ah, the joy of Christmas photos.

Praise Lord digital cameras.

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