Mom and Dad may not realize it right away, but that photo of their pride and joy trying to escape the fat guy in red by whatever means necessary? It’s destined to become a classic.
“Crying pictures become these incredibly treasured keepsakes,” says Denise Joyce, who literally wrote the book on funny Santa’s lap pictures.
Pics of happy, smiling tykes visiting Kris Kringle get stashed in an album and will rarely ever see the light of day. “But let me tell you, these pictures of kids crying on Santa’s lap get pulled out every year,” Joyce says. “They get places of honor on the mantel.”
We asked readers to send us their “classic” Santa’s lap pictures, and we’re sharing some of our favorites here. We were inspired by Denise Joyce and her colleague Nancy Watkins,Chicago Tribune features editors whose book Scared of Santa is a compilation of some of their favorite Santa’s lap photos from Tribune readers. (The Tribune was inspired by the Palm Beach Post
, which shared the idea at a newspaper conference.)
TheScared of Santa
book (Harper, $9.95) is subtitled “Scenes of Terror in Toyland” and features chapters such as “Misery Squared” (sibling duos crying at the same time), “Santa Claus Is Comin’ … After You” (Santas so scary-looking, you can see why the kids are bawling) and “The Man Without a Face” (Santas who seem to be all hat and beard).
Then there’s the chapter we find most disturbing: pics of Santas completely disregarding the dress code, like the guy in a red and black flannel shirt with suspenders. Dude!
Having become an expert, Joyce can report that the prime age of Santa-cryers is between 2 and 4, and that one in five visitors to Santa will end up in tears.
Another factoid: “Dressing children in cute holiday outfits does not make their screaming look any more festive,” Joyce and Watkins write in their book’s introduction.
But what if you want a happy picture? Well, try going when it’s less crowded. Let your child observe Santa from a distance first. Tell your tot about the candy cane or small gift he or she will get.
But kids will be kids. Sometimes all the preparation in the world won’t make a difference. All a parent can do is react with a sense of humor — and tell Mrs. Claus to TAKE THAT PICTURE!
It could be the best photo you’ll ever have of your child’s tonsils. And remember, it’s sure to become a classic.