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Family Christmas photo with Santa

Yes, it’s that time of year when we— again—subject our children, grandchildren or other trusting and unsuspecting small people to the annual trauma of a Santa photo session with a oddly dressed stranger who is usually neither chubby or cheery enough for the real deal.

Of course, many (most?) kids relish the opportunity to nab a minute with the man from the north to whisper what they might like for Christmas, or as our Miss 4 says, ‘to put in her order’. Usually the older kids get, the more comfortable they become with the idea of sitting on some random old man’s knee in a shopping centre or department store to spell out in minute detail what they’d like magically delivered to them in the comfort of their own homes on Christmas Eve while they sleep, if you please. For true believers, it’s surely an opportunity not to be missed.

Of course, for some of the littlies, it can be a little overwhelming, even though they usually REALLY, REALLY wanted to go there in the first place.

But look at these faces if you need pictorial evidence of what can eventuate. Any quick Google search will bring up hundreds of similar faces, in various shades of red and throes of panic. And that’s not always just the kids’ faces. Sometimes Santa is quite frightened himself.


Of course, my own grandchildren were subjected to the Santa saga again this week. We thought this year might be a total success, given both the kids are very fond of Santa Claus and the great promise he brings. As it turned out, not quite—but I have to say the photographic results were hilarious.

While Big Sister was full of confidence, Mr 2 was a little shy and thought he might be able to pull the whole thing off from a safe distance without even venturing onto the stage.

“I want a digger!’ he shouted boldly at Santa from four metres away.

That should do it, he thought. Don’t even have to make physical contact.

But it was when the rest of the family approached Santa, with him in tow, that he got a little undone.

You can see what happened. Santa doesn’t look very impressed himself.

Scared boy at Santa photo

I suspect it has always been thus. Parents have been doing this Santa photo thing for decades, except way back yonder we got all glammed up for the occasion in our Sunday Bests. We were probably scared ourselves too at one time or other all those years ago, but my overriding memory is the great little paper bag of lollies you got at the end, in the black and white hounds-tooth pattern of David Jones in my case. Clearly I’ve been a sugar addict from a very young age, or maybe that was the start of it?

Thee kids having photos with Santas in the 1960s

There’s me in the middle looking somewhat dubious. At least I’ve got that lolly bag!!

Perhaps trying for the perfect happy Santa shot is a just like eating too much at Christmas dinner, or wearing a paper hat. Some things just have to be done over and over again, even when there’s a small moment there when you think ‘Why am I actually doing this?’

I’m sure all those crying kids will love the photos in future years. We love them already.

Disclaimer: Before anyone gets too upset, I’d like to state that I’m not really mean and I’m not into terrifying children, not even my own grandchildren. I’m actually very nice to children. The two big kids went along very happily (the baby hasn’t noticed yet) and one just had a little panic at the end, but was soon placated in the warm embrace of his mother. No children were harmed in the making of this blog post. No judgement required.

Have you got any funny Santa photos to share?

Related: The perils of Christmas photos