TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL HOME VISIT WITH SANTA

 Santa is delighted that you have decided to make him a part of your Christmas memories.  To help you in making the most of Santa's visit, please review the following list of suggestions.

HAVE YOUR CAMERA READY

Have all your camera gear ready.  Be sure you have any and all cameras, camcorders and batteries necessary to take the photos you want.  Have all the videotape, film, memory sticks, and fresh, fully charged batteries so you don’t miss any of those photo moments.  Consider where Santa will be seated for pictures and take some sample shots at the same time of day and alter your lighting accordingly. Don't rely on flashes for the bulk of the lighting or "red-eye" is pretty much guaranteed to occur.  Also, make sure you know how to use your camera or camcorder since there is no worse time to learn than just after a once in a lifetime moment has passed!

Santa would like to have at least one photo of his visit with you and your family and guests.   If possible, email a picture or pictures to me for posting in my Yuletide Memories website photo gallery.  Any photos posted will only be done WITH THE PERMISSION of those persons involved.  As a measure of safety, names and locations are never noted or disclosed.

CONSIDER SANTA'S ARRIVAL

Ideally, Santa's arrival should be out of view of your guests, especially doubting "tweens" and teens.  Santa can reasonably explain why he's driving a pickup instead of a sleigh, but it's better to not have to.  After all,  Christmas Eve is the night of magic and is when the reindeer fly.  If Santa needs to put any gifts in his toy bag, privacy will be a great concern.  Remember, Santa's hair and suit are quickly mussed by snow and rain so having someone greet him with an umbrella is a good idea in wet weather.  Santa's suit is quite warm.  Unless you want a sweaty Santa, he needs to park close to your event.  A neighbor's garage or driveway can be ideal in wet or warm weather.With Santa visiting your grandchildren, children, nieces and nephews, I would suggest any important information or facts be sent to Santa in advance of his visit.  This information is something only you and the child would know.  This could include a major event or occurance the child is very proud of.  Some examples could be good grades, playing on a local sports team, playing well with brother or sister and helping Mom or Dad around the house with chores and special tasks.  Holiday vacations or trips to visit relatives could be included.

CONSIDER SANTA'S TRAVEL PLANS

Make sure Santa has good, clear directions to your location.  Provide your specific address so it can be entered into a GPS unit.   Parking for Santa should be as close as possible and easily accessible.  Santa will also need a cell telephone number to call in case of any emergencies.

HAVE YOUR GIFTS READY

Santa does not bring candy canes or gifts with him.  He will hand out your candy and gifts and may carry in one bag of presents for the children and guests (no more than what would fit in a 30 gallon trash/lawn bag).   Gifts should be labeled in very large and legible printing.  Any unusual or challenging names or pronunciations should be communicated to Santa before his visit.  Rather than gift tags and bows, names should be written directly onto the wrapping paper.   Gift tags and bows will usually fall off while in Santa's toy bag.  It may be a good idea to have some extra presents on hand in case of an unexpected guest.  You may consider having a "Santa's Helper" available to help with any over anxious children or to help with handing out gifts.  Remember to use a different wrapping paper than what you will be using at home.

HAVE A SPECIAL CHAIR FOR SANTA

Folding chairs, plastic chairs, and low chairs (the one's you sink into) are not good. Santa needs a chair that is sturdy and stable that will allow his thigh bone to be parallel to the floor or the kids may slide off his knee.  A good, sturdy straight-back dining chair with no arms works well. He should be able to sit comfortably with the chair supporting him plus a child on each knee.

PLACE THE CHAIR IN A HOLIDAY SETTING

Place Santa's chair in front of a decorated wall or other festive type of backdrop, and your photos will have more impact. Place a wreath, a few Christmas cards or your children's drawings on the wall to make a wonderful difference. Leave a foot or two between the chair and the tree or wall. This will allow room for others to gather around and behind Santa's chair for group photos. Fireplaces look nice but putting Santa too close to a real fire is not good for his comfort or health. For the best pictures, adjust overhead lighting and place table or floor lamps to adequately light the scene. Flashes should only be used to "fill" not to light the scene. Think about photos with everyone.  Some teenagers will shy away or think it is too childish to have a photo with Santa.  Don't worry as Santa can stand up for a "buddy" photo.   Finally, having a clock in Santa's view can help him pace his visit.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS FOR SANTA'S VISIT

Prior to Santa's visit to your home, please consider any language issues or concerns.  Will there be guests that rely on American Sign Language (ASL) for communication?  Will there be guests from another country that only speak their native language?  Knowing this in advance may allow Santa the time to learn how to say "Merry Christmas" in ASL or in a foreign language.  This can help make Santa's visit a special holiday memory for your family and guests.

CONSIDER SANTA'S DEPARTURE

If there is a payment due for Santa, please place it in a Christmas card or envelope. It never looks appropriate when someone is seen paying Santa.  As Santa is departing, hand him the envelope and say "Thank you Santa.  Here is a Christmas card for you and Mrs. Claus from all of us.”.

Call Santa Jim at 216.973.3704

Email  santa@yuletidememories.com