Be sure to have close by reserved parking for Santa don't make Santa walk a long distance to the event; Santa wants to be fresh and ready to enter with a happy HO HOHO, not a 'whew whew whew, I sure had to walk a long way, give me a minute to catch my breath', remember Santa is probably a 'senior citizen' and will be wearing a heavy suit and boots, please accommodate Santa with special parking, maybe a next-door neighbor can leave space in the driveway, put a special 'Santa Parking Only' sign in front of home or office, be sure to leave plenty of space. You want Santa to arrive at your event fresh and ready to greet your children and guests. If your event is somewhere with 'valet parking', arrange gratuities with the service ahead of time for Santa's arrival.
Plan ahead and develop a schedule or order of photos, be sure everyone is prepared for their opportunity to have a picture with Santa; being prepared ahead of time will give you more time for other Santa opportunities. Don't forget Grandma and Grandpa; you will cherish the photo. The 'big group' photo with Santa is always fun, have your tripod handy, so you all can be in the shot.
Not everyone will be excited to have a photo with Santa, Santa will be happy to stand with 'teens' in a group photo if wanted. Encourage them to participate. They, too, have memories of Santa.
If a child is unsure and nervous about Santa, let the Child observe from a distance and let them decide when the time is right, there is always next year. Santa will do his best to make the nervous Child at ease and maybe get that shot you want.
When the Child is presented to Santa, please state the Child's name loud and clear so Santa can address the Child properly. If you have a list of children attending, send it to Santa ahead of time.
Please be sure the infant or toddler is comfortable and not wet or odiferous when presented to Santa. They will have a more pleasant exchange. Infants should be 'burped' ahead of time; parents should be at the ready with a cloth if the Child gets excited and 'burps' on Santa. Santa's suit does not need to get wet or soiled, be considerate. Your Child's experience is important.
Santa needs a sturdy yet comfortable chair, a good dining room chair without arms is good, and be sure to find a cool spot for Santa to be. You can always drape the chair with simple fabric if you choose. Have a medium height stool or other chairs handy for parents or others to sit on if a group shot is wanted. Be sure to stage your backdrop and setting for your pictures. A wreath, a tree, a wall of letters to Santa are always fun and memorable. No prolonged sitting in front of the fireplace.
Treats are only handed to children if parents are present and approve, treats are responsibility of host or parent’s.
If you are handing out gifts or 'treats' for your guests and children; be sure to have them ready and marked with a name (large print), on the package, as tags can fall off; you want this to go smoothly. Santa likes to call a child's or person's name when handing out gifts. If you are handing out gifts, have someone meet Santa prior to entry to your event, Santa can put gifts in his toy sack and enter with them over his shoulder (limit to 40 lbs. please). Have an elf helper at the ready for Santa. They can help with this activity and will also be able to lift a child onto Santa's knee (Santa cannot lift a child easily while sitting) for the photo opportunity
Be sure to communicate to Santa if there are special needs children, military families, or other pertinent information about family, friends, or guests. Keep in contact with Santa via his contact information. If things change, Santa will understand it and make for a better visit.
If there is a balance or payment due to Santa, place it inside a Christmas card or envelope. Try not to hand Santa cash or check. It just does not look good to young children. Tell Santa, "Thanks, and here is a Christmas card from all of us."