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Tips for guaranteeing a perfect 'Scared of Santa' photo

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The best part of Christmas are those hilarious “scared of Santa” photos posted on the Chicago Tribune’s website. Truth be told, it wouldn’t feel like Christmas without a couple dozen photos of terrified children sobbing on strange men’s laps. So avoid feeling like a failure this year and turning out a regular boring old photo of your sweet child smiling on a friendly fat guy’s knee, here are some tips on how to elicit a surefire winner:

Ho ho ho? (Flickr/Stephen M. Scott)
  • Try to find a hungover Santa if you can. His dour expression and the bags under his eyes will contribute to a hilarious image.
  • Better yet: skinny Santa. What could be worse?
  • Dress your child much too warmly for the occasion, and try to find a Santa in extremely high demand. That way, after the hours of waiting in line (don’t forget to forget the snacks), your little one will be uncomfortable and miserable.
  • Have the big “stranger danger” chat with your child on the way to meet Santa, but as you wait in line say, “Well, Santa probably doesn’t want to hurt you.” 
  • Inform your child that Santa’s beard is full of earwigs which will crawl into his or her ear and lay thousands of holiday eggs. 
  • Give your child a long script to recite to Santa and inform him that if he deviates from it, even by one word, Santa will kill your dog. Make sure you give him a lot to drink before you do this and go somewhere where there are no public restrooms in sight. 
  • Tell your child that you’re sorry, but this year Santa has decided that every other child who comes to sit on his knee will be abducted on Christmas Eve and there’s no way of knowing which is which. 
  • If all else fails, give your child a merry little pinch on the upper arm right before he or she goes up for the photo. Ho ho ho and a ha ha ha!

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