Handy Hints for a Visit From Santa

To help you in making Santa' s visit a most enjoyable event, we offer the following list of suggestions, which have been paraphrased from the book Behind the Red Suit by Timothy Connaghan, RBS.

You can see Santa Tim's website at www.thekringlegroup.com.


(These are not "hard and fast" rules, but rather just some things to keep in mind when planning your Big Visit from Santa!)

1. Have your camera(s) ready.

Be sure to have everything  necessary (film [if not digital], videotape and batteries) to take the photos you want or need to get. Be sure to recharge your video camera batteries. Make sure that the "designated picture taker(s)" knows how to operate all the cameras involved.

2. Reserve a special parking place for Santa.

It should be right 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 will be winded and exhausted when he gets there. Remember, he's a Senior Citizen, wearing a heavy velvet suit that gets very hot. Most Santas budget about five minutes for parking. Any more time than that is part of your allotted time.

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 with it and put out a sign like "Reserved for Santa!" or "Reindeer Parking Only!" Or back one car down the driveway with a space in front. When Santa calls that he is there, 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, or hotel, try to make arrangements for Santa to park in valet parking or a 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.

3. Have your gifts ready.

Santa may or may not bring any candy canes with him. Make sure you know. He will hand out your candy and gifts and can carry in one bag of presents (40 pounds or less) for children or guests. They should be well labeled. We suggest a large black marking pen and writing directly on the gift, since tags can easily fall off. All packages should fit into one 35-gallon trash bag. Santa will transfer the gifts to his "Santa Bag." If you have more gifts, Santa will usually ask a couple of the "big Kids" (adults) to be honorary Elves and instruct them to bring in the extra gifts.

4. Have a sturdy chair for Santa to sit in.

Folding chairs, plastic chairs, and low chairs (the ones you sink down into) are not good. 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.

5. Place the chair for Santa to sit in, maybe in front of a decorated wall or festive type of backdrop.

Your photos will have more impact. Place a wreath, a few Christmas cards or you 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.

6. No open flames.

Fireplaces sure look nice but putting Santa too close to a real fire is not good for his comfort or health. Likewise, candles look great as decorations, but remember that Santa is wearing a long coat with draping sleeves.

7. Get everyone together before Santa enters.

Timing is everything! Santa's contracted time begins the minute he arrives. Minutes that are spent getting everyone together are part of your contracted time. If everyone is scattered around the house or office, you lose valuable time. Santa and you can coordinate.. He should call you when he is five minutes away from arriving. That's your cue to have someone go outside to meet Santa, and for you to get everyone together - maybe sing some Christmas carols. If Santa is to bring in presents, the person meeting him can help him fill his bag.

If you have a large group of children to see Santa, you should assign someone to be Santa's helper and coordinate the children as they each visit Santa. Sometimes, Santa travels with Mrs. Claus or Elves, who also act as Santa's assistants. Make sure ahead of time!

8. Think about photos with everyone.

Yes, some teenagers will shy away or think it is too childish to have a photo with Santa. Don't worry; Santa can stand up for a "buddy" photo. What about Grandma and Grandpa? Take a photo with Santa and Grandma hugging. And, nothing is more fun than having Santa ask Grandpa if he has been a good boy!

9. If there is a balance or payment due to Santa, place it in a Christmas card or envelope.

It never looks appropriate when someone gives cash to Santa. So, as Santa is departing, hand him the envelope and say, "Thank you Santa and here is a Christmas card from all of us."

Often, if Santa is traveling with Mrs. Claus or an Elf, he will have one of them check with you about payments instead. Again, make sure ahead of time!

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