How to Avoid a Santa Photo Meltdown!

It’s THE ritual of the season: taking your child to see Santa Claus so they can sit on his lap, read him their list of everything they want for Christmas- and capture this magical childhood moment with a photo.

Although we adults think of Santa as a holly jolly fellow, not all kids have the same reaction which can result in a  Santa photo meltdown!  We have all seen it and just about every parent has experienced it.

Think about it from a child’s perspective, you are taking him to see a big hairy stranger who wears alot of velvet, big menacing boots and has a ominous name: Santa Claus. Then you shove him on this strangers lap and tell him to sit there and smile.

Screaming and crying ensues.

Bribes for toys and candy are negotiated, tears run down their face, snot runs from their nose and SNAP you end up with a temper tantrum filled, blurry, manic photo.

Sure, years down the road this hissy fit outburst packed photo might make for great  laughs in front of their future boyfriend or girlfriend, but wouldn’t you rather have a happy photo of  a smiling child and jolly Saint Nick? A good memory rather than a traumatic one?

What can you do?

Well, the first step is environment.

My mantra has always been “Go Big or Go Home” so if I’m going to see Santa I’m going to see THE Santa and THE Santa is at a magical place…no its not the North Pole, it’s  Town Square in Las Vegas.

Nestled snugly in his Norman Rockwell Studio replica house, here Santa sits with each child in a one-of-a-kind  environment that hearkens back to simpler times- no weird chair in the middle of a mall surrounded by cranky shoppers, at Town Square it’s all about you and Santa!

I sat down with Jaimesen Mapes, marketing director for Town Square Las Vegas to get some tips for parents on how to avoid a Santa Meltdown and how to ensure you get the best photo possible.

Q: What should  parents consider when dressing their child for photos with Santa? Do any particular colors work better than others?

JM:  It’s always fun to mark a holiday with a festive outfit that celebrates the season. Holiday dresses for girls and a dressy pant and a sweater for boys is always a good choice. Try to outfit them in colors that don’t clash with Santa’s red suit. Something that accents or compliments the red and white suit is your best bet.

Q: Any tips for parents on how to make the experiences easier…how to ease the “first visit” fears so you don’t end up with a portfolio of screaming and crying photos?

JM: If your child has never met Santa before, he might be a bit hesitant to sit on his lap and take a photo with a stranger. You can make him more comfortable by making it fun and exciting. Take him early for a sneak peak at Santa and come back the next day or week for the actual photo shoot. Watch movies or TV shows with Santa so he becomes familiar with him and more excited to see him in person.

Q: Sometimes selecting a package can be overwhelming, what should you consider when choosing a photo package?

JM: When a family comes to the Santa house at Town Square Las Vegas, our photographers capture the whole experience from start to finish as opposed to just the typical poses. From a shy child walking up to Santa with their list in hand to the excited child who rushes up to embrace Santa with a hug, the camera photographer catches all. Several pictures are taken of the visit including reading the wish list, smiling with Santa and hugging as they leave.

Parents are given plenty of time to review all of the pictures from the experience and build their own package instead of choosing from a preselected set. In many cases, they purchase Santa’s USB thumb drive with all of the pictures on it (which comes along with a copyright release to print any and all of them).When choosing a photo package other than the complete USB drive, parents should keep in mind the people close to the child such as grandparents, aunts and uncles, God parents etc. They can build their own package based on their need.

 Q:  Parents emergency photo kit– what should they have with them..just in case?

JM: You can’t go wrong with having all the basic essentials on hand the day of the photo shoot. These include snacks, water, milk, baby wipes to clean the face and hands and toys to entertain the kids and keep them occupied if you have to wait. It’s also not a bad idea to bring an alternate outfit in case something gets spilled on a dress or food falls on your child’s pants.

Q:  Best time of day to get photos done?

JM: The best time of day depends on your child.   Consider whether your child will become tired, hungry or want to play during the time you want to go for photos. Work around those variables in order to have the best experience possible. If he is bright and alert in the morning, that might be the best time to go or, if he is more alert after his daily nap, then head out then. You can avoid the lines and use the Town Square Santa Fly By Reservation system. Text 913-752-xmas (9627) and or use the link online link at to save your place in line.

Q: Santa Fly By Reservation system?  Sounds jolly!  Tell me about it.

JM: Town Square’s Santa Fly By reservation system allows real time access to the wait time for Santa, so you can see how many people are in line already. You receive SMS notifications 30, 15 and 5 minutes prior to your reservation so you don’t have to wait in line for your visit. Santa Fly By also allows guests to text U for a status update, and M for more time. This allows flexibility, something parents can appreciate. Another tip is to double check the time that Santa takes breaks for “milk and cookies.” Santa takes a break Monday – Saturday from 1-1:30 p.m. and 5-6 p.m., and Sunday from 2-3 p.m. at Town Square.

Santa has been making his list and checking it twice and wants to know who has been naughty and nice! Bring the kids to Santa’s Norman Rockwell inspired house in Town Square Park to make this holiday season a memory that will last forever.

Photos with Santa Claus 

November 16 – December 24 

Santa’s House
November 16-December 20 

Monday – Saturday: 10:00am – 9:00pm
Sunday 11am – 7pm 

December 21 – December 23 
9:00am – 9:00pm 

December 24 
9am – 6pm (BREAK: 1pm-2pm) 

Santa has been making his list and checking it twice and wants to know who has been naughty and nice! Bring the kids to Santa’s Norman Rockwell inspired house in Town Square Park to make this holiday season a memory that will last forever. Santa will be available for photos following his arrival at 7pm on November 15th. Santa breaks for Milk and Cookies Monday thru Saturday from 1pm-1:30pm and 5pm-6pm, Sunday from 2pm-3pm. 


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  1. I totally rock my Santa pic every year. Love the set up at Town Square too. I’ll be asking Santa for my new lens OR my backsplash completed. See how simple the gifts get the older you are…NOT! Happy Holidays Christie!

  2. If I were to sit on Santas lap I would ask him to take my moms disease away! I would also ask for all the people who lost their houses in The hurricane Sandy could be magically fixed.. Oh ya.. World Peace too! That’s not too much to ask? Please Santa!! You would so get the best cookies ever!!

  3. I’m a lil’ old to be sitting on Santas lap, but my wish is for all the lil’ boys and girls in the world is to have a magical Christmas!!!!!!

  4. Dear Santa,

    I have been a very good girl this year. I would love an all expense paid trip to somewhere sunny and tropical. Pretty please!

    Yours Truly,
    Jessica 🙂

  5. I just saw it snow last night at Town Square! I’m asking for a new bed with pillows from a very specific hotel on the strip whose beds I love and never want to get out of. OK OK, ARIA! Santa- I want a California King mattress with (4) pillows from the Aria Bedroom collection!!

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