Tips to make this Santa visit a great success
Here are some suggestions we make from our years of experience. You might want to take care of the first five items long before Santa arrives.
Remember, the visit will be fine-tuned to what you have asked for. Don't want photos - no problem. No parking space? Santa will improvise.
1. Have your camera ready! Make sure your batteries are recharged, and everything is where you can grab it. We find that the best photos are taken within the first 5 seconds of the child being placed on Santa’s lap (no kidding!) especially if it’s a baby.
2. Reserve a special parking space for Santa. It should be right in front of where he is visiting. If he parks down the street or around the corner and has to walk all the way to your home or office, he may be winded or exhausted when he gets there – remember, he’s a Senior Citizen, wearing a heavy velvet suit that gets very hot. He could also be waylaid by neighbors or other children which would delay him from arriving at your event.
We always allow 5 minutes time for parking. If it takes longer for him to find a parking spot and arrive at your event it means that his visit with you will have to be shorter.
If the visit is at your home, leave an opening at the end of your driveway. Put a temporary barrier in the space. Have some fun and put a sign out, “Reserved for Santa!” Or back one car down the driveway with a space in front of it. When Santa calls you to announce that he is in front, whoever greets him outside can pull the car up in the driveway and Santa can park right behind.
If your event is at a company facility, office building, club or hotel try to make arrangements for Santa to park in a valet or loading area. Again, you can mark the area with a fun sign. This makes it easier for him to be fresh and ready to bring joy to your guests or family.
3. Have your gifts or treats for the children ready. Santa does not bring any candy canes or gifts with him. He will hand out your candy and gifts if you like, and can carry in one bag of presents (40 pounds or less, and about the volume that would fit in a large garbage bag) for your children or guests. If you have more gifts than that, the professional elf will help, or you can assign a grown-up from your group and Santa will make him/her an honorary elf.
All gifts should be well labeled. We suggest a large black marking pen and writing directly on the gift, as tags can easily fall off. Place the gifts in a garbage bag and Santa will transfer them into his custom-made Santa bag.
4. Remember that Santa’s arrival time is approximate. Weather is often working against Santa during the Christmas season, and it can easily delay his arrival at your event. In addition, Santa sometimes becomes lost in spite of using Google maps and a GPS system (not to mention the fact that he’s been visiting your home each Christmas Eve for decades….).
Please consider the time Santa is due to arrive as an estimate. Know that Santa will do his level best to be there just when you expect him, and will stay the full time once he has arrived. Plan on 15 minutes on either side of the time you have scheduled.
5. Have a sturdy chair for Santa to sit in. Folding chairs, plastic chairs, and low chairs (that you sink down into) are not good, and don’t provide great photos. Santa likes a chair that is sturdy and stable. A good 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.
Santa can provide a special Santa Couch if you like. It is colorful and sturdy and can seat a family with Santa, or several adults with Santa. There is an extra charge for this to cover the elf who carries it in and sets it up.
6. Place Santa’s chair near your Christmas tree or in a holiday setting, maybe in front of a decorated wall or any festive type of backdrop. Your photos will have more impact. Place a wreath, a few Christmas cards or your children’s drawings on the wall to make a great 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 do look nice, but remember that putting Santa too close to a real fire is not good for his comfort or health.
If you want to make Santa your best friend forever….put a small fan on the floor 6-8’ in front of Santa’s chair. You wouldn’t believe how good it feels to Santa to have a hint of a breeze find its way beneath his beard!
7. Get everyone together before Santa enters. Timing is everything. Santa’s contracted time begins the minute he arrives. Minutes spent getting everyone together give you fewer minutes visiting with Santa. If everyone is scattered around the house or office, you lose valuable time.
Santa will help you coordinate. He will call your contact number when he is 5 minutes away from arriving. That’s your cue to have someone go outside to meet Santa, and for you to get everyone together and maybe to sing some Christmas Carols. If Santa is to bring in presents, the person meeting him can help him fill his bag.
Then, at the right moment, Santa can pop in and join everyone in their singing.
8. Think about photos with everyone. Yes, some teenagers will shy away or think it is too childish to have a photo taken with Santa. Don’t worry, Santa can stand up for a ‘buddy’ photo.
What about grandma and grandpa? You could take a photo with Santa and Grandma hugging. And nothing is more fun than having Santa ask Grandpa if he’s been a good boy! Another keepsake photo idea is a three or four-generation photo with Santa.
9. Many of our wonderful clients choose to reward Santa and his elf with A TIP at the end of the visit. With the price of reindeer feed always rising, Santa is always grateful for this generosity. It never looks appropriate when someone gives cash to Santa. So, as Santa is departing, hand the envelope to his elf, and say, “Thank you and here is a Christmas card from all of us.”
10. Preserve the magic by not allowing the children to follow Santa outside. Sometimes young children will want to see Santa climb into his sleigh. Sometimes older children want to ‘prove’ his non-veracity by exposing his not riding in a sleigh. In any case, Santa’s performance ends at your front door.
If the children see him climb into his car (the flying sleigh only works after midnight on Christmas Eve, as you probably already know) it can mar the wonderful mood he has helped create. The same person who waits for Santa to arrive outside can also position himself at the door to dissuade children from following Santa outside.