Playing Santa Claus Is A Privilege
As Santa Claus, it is your privilege and responsibility to bring joy and wonder to children in the spirit of Christmas. You may be roving or sitting on a Santa chair but either way your time with each child is precious. It will be the highlight of Christmas for the child, and talked about for weeks. Parents may take photos and use them as the main growth photo of their children. Your time with each child is very important.
Santa Claus Oath
I will seek knowledge to be well versed in the mysteries of bringing Christmas cheer and good will to all the people that I encounter in my journeys and travels.
I shall be dedicated to hearing the secret dreams of both children and adults.
I understand that the true and only gift I can give, as Santa, is myself.
I acknowledge that some of the requests I will hear will be difficult and sad. I know in these difficulties there lies an opportunity to bring a spirit of warmth, understanding and compassion.
I know the “real reason for the season” and know that I am blessed to be able to be a part of it.
I realize that I belong to a brotherhood and will be supportive, honest and show fellowship to my peers.
I promise to use “my” powers to create happiness, spread love and make fantasies come to life in the true and sincere tradition of the Santa Claus Legend.
I pledge myself to these principles as a descendant of St. Nicholas the gift giver of Myra.
-Phillip L. Wenz
Interaction Key Points
- Act calm, gentle and friendly at all times.
- Greet each child and parent/care giver with genuine warmth.
- Encourage children to come to you.
- Encourage all children but don’t force children to sit next to you or on your knee.
- Communicate and acknowledge every child.
- Spend time with each child and ensure they know Santa is special.
- Try your best to ensure any photos taken are amazing and also a fun experience.
- Say good-bye as you leave, simply say “Merry Christmas, I look forward to seeing you again next year”.
Talking to children
Interact with all children, based around the genre of Christmas. Try to ask open ended questions that encourage the child to speak. Here are some potential questions to ask.
- What would you like for Christmas?
- What do you do to celebrate Christmas?
- Do you want to ask Santa anything?
- Would you like to sit on Santa’s knee/give Santa a hug/high 5?
You can also compliment the child to get them to relax and trust you. Never be inappropriate with compliments.
- That’s a pretty dress/headband/outfit.
- That’s a handsome shirt/outfit/young man.
- Thank you for coming out to see Santa.
Frightened or screaming children
It is inevitable that some children may be scared of Santa.
- Never try to force a child to get too close or sit on your knee if they don’t want to.
- Give the power of intimidation to the child, or allow the child to be a higher status than you either in emotional status or physical status.
Babies and toddlers
You may meet children and babies as young as a few days old, or children who cannot control their own posture.
It is your choice to hold babies. You are not expected to, and are within your rights to say no if you feel you cannot safely see/feel/hold the baby. If you do not feel comfortable, politely explain so.
Here are some guidelines for working with young children and babies.
- Ask the parents/guardians to sit in the photos rather than you hold the children/baby. Parents can sit next to you in the chair or you can stand and they can have the chair.
- If you feel comfortable holding a baby, remain seated. Ensure you have both feet on the ground and you are firmly seated on the chair. Ensure you are confident and comfortable. Ask the parents/guardian to place the baby in your arms.
- When the photo is finished, ask the parent/guardian to take the bay back. Do not stand up or move your posture until you are confident the baby is safely back in parents’ arms.
- Remember you may not be able to see the baby clearly over your beard. You may not be able to feel the baby with your gloves.
Pets and Animals
It is becoming more popular to have Santa photos with pets and animals. In this circumstance, Book A Santa will check that Santa is comfortable with this. We may provide a separate costume just for animals, and may include additional dry-cleaning charges.
It is your choice to meet with pets and animals. You are not expected to and within your rights to politely decline if you do not feel safe or comfortable.
If working with animals, ensure the owner is always present. Owner should always be within eye distance of the animal.
How to get the perfect Santa photo
Always keep a smile!
Contrary to any belief that your mouth cannot be seen under your beard, a child, and camera, can always detect a smile. Always be friendly and happy, and a smile is the best way to do this.
Always show your hands.
Keeping your hands in full view at all times gives everyone peace of mind. It is important to do this in accordance with sexual harassment by-lines.
Posture is very important. Santa should not slouch or look sloppy! To achieve the right look sit forward in the chair with your knees and feet slightly apart (hip/shoulder width)
Working with your photographer
If you have a photographer, work with them to ensure a great Santa photo for the family. Work out hand gestures/signals to use with your photographer and ask them to let you know if your beard is falling off or if your hands aren’t showing etc. Indicate to the photographer when you are ready for the photo to be taken. If you have any problems with the photographer speak to them when there are no customers or children around.
Getting children ready for photo
Some children know they need to look at the camera and smile but some might be too young, or unsure. A photo with Santa is very important to the family, so try your best to make it a fantastic memory for them. This may include getting the child to smile, encouraging them to look in the right direction, or rearranging their position to face the camera full on.
Achieving the perfect photo
Make sure you are facing the camera, with a smile. Practice in the mirror getting a ‘twinkle’ in your eyes by gently squinting your eyes, and smiling.
Hold the child securely on your lap with both hands in view or have the child stand next to you, and have your hands in your lap.
From the moment you walk arrive to your venue to the moment you leave you should maintain character. Even when there are no children around you must remain in character.
Continue after the photo
Do not forget to keep talking to the child, and spend special Santa time with them after the photo is taken. Parents may spend this time looking at the photo and seeing if they are happy with it. This is your time to keep talking with the child, and making sure their time with Santa is magical.
Judging the line
Check your line of children and judge approximately how many are waiting to see you. From this knowledge you may find you need to spend less time with each child to get through them all or you can spend greater time since less are waiting. Generally speaking spend about 5minutes with each child or 10minutes with each family.
Tips on how your photographer might manage the queue
- Your photographer may decide to give each child a number and call them to see Santa, as opposed to standing in line.
- If your line is never ending, and you are near finishing time, ask the last person in line to not allow anyone else to line up
- Stop every now and then and address the line, so the lining up is not so boring.
Tricks of the trade
– Your venue may decide to give each child a number, and call them to see Santa, as opposed to standing in line.
– If your line is never ending, and you are near finishing time, ask the last person in line to not allow anyone else to line up.
– Stop every now and then and address the line, so the lining up is not so boring.
You may be working for a brand name store, but you do not need to promote the brands products. However, do not actively turn customers elsewhere.
Always maintains the magic of Christmas and Santa.
Special needs children
Children with special needs should be treated exactly the same way as any other child. Do not give them more or less time, do not call attention to their disability, but above all, do not patronise the child. Treat them as if the disability was not there. After all, Santa is Santa to every child.
Here are some tips for dealing with special needs children.
Vision Impaired Children
- Speak directly and clearly
- Do not avoid adjectives such as ‘look at this’
- Always warn the child what is about to happen, especially contact
- Interpret any unusual sounds for the child
- Use words describing texture, sound and smell to make things more meaningful for the child
Hearing Impaired children
- Face the child and speak clearly
- Do not raise your voice. The child may be wearing a hearing aid, so a raised voice is not needed.
- Use facial expressions and hand gestures
Intellectually and Physically Disabled
- Do not focus on the handicap
- Involve the parent /care giver
- Use short sentences
- Use simple clean, but not condescending language
- Take direction from the parent/caregiver
- Ensure children’s hopes and expectations are not raised to a point that cannot be met by the family
- Never assume the child has two parents or a parent of each sex. Child may live with guardians, grandparents, etc
Ask the child open ended questions