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If you've scheduled Santa to visit your home or Special Event, he's prepared a little list of handy hints to help make his visit a mostenjoyable event!

1.  Have your camera(s) ready. Be sure to have all the film, videotape, and batteries necessary to take the photos you want or need to get. Be sure to recharge your video and digital camera batteries.

2. Reserve a special parking place for Santa. It should be as close as possible to where he is visiting.  And remember, Santa is a senior citizen.  If he parks down the street or around the corner and has to walk all the way to your home or office, he might be a bit winded or exhausted when he gets there.  Remember, he's wearing a heavy velvet suit that gets very hot (even in December).  If the visit is at your home, leave an opening at the end of your driveway. Just put a temporary barrier in the space. Use a box, a chair, or a sawhorse. Have some fun and put a sign out "Reserved for Santa!"  If your event is at a company facility, office building, or hotel, try to make arrangements for Santa to park in a valet or 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 normally does not bring any candy canes or gifts with him. He will hand out your candy and gifts and can carry in one bag of presents for children or guests. They should be well labeled. We suggest a large black marking pen and writing directly on the gift, as tags can easily fall off. All packages should fit into one 35-gallon trash bag.  Anymore, and it may be too heavy or awkward for him to bring in.  If you have more than one bag, check with Santa and see if there is a way to have the gifts near his chair before he arrives or if there is a way for you to have "helpers" to bring the extra gifts in.

4.  Get everyone together, before Santa enters. Timing is everything. You may have scheduled Santa for a set amount of time, which begins when he arrives. If everyone is scattered around the house or office, you loose valuable time. Santa and you can coordinate. He should call you when he is five minutes away from arriving. That's your cue to get everyone together, maybe to sing some Christmas Carols, and to have someone go outside to meet Santa. If Santa is to bring in presents, the person meeting him can help fill Santa's bag. Then, at the right moment, Santa can pop in and join everyone in their singing. If you have a large group of children to see Santa, you should assign someone to be Santa's helper and coordinate the order of children as they each visit Santa.

5.  Santa has his own chair that he can bring to the event, but in situations where the chair cannot be brought into the space please have a sturdy chair for Santa to sit in.  Folding chairs and low chairs (the ones you sink into) are not good.  Santa usually 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 and the chair needs to support him plus a child on each knee.

6.  Place the Chair near your Christmas tree or in a holiday setting. Maybe in front of a fireplace with stockings hanging, or any festive type of backdrop. Your photos will have more impact when the background has a festive look. Place a wreath, a few Christmas cards, or your 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.

7.  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's been a good boy!

8.  If there is a balance or payment due to Santa, place it inside a Christmas card or envelope. It never looks appropriate when someone gives cash to Santa. So, as Santa is departing, you can hand him the envelope and say, "Thank you Santa, and here is a Christmas card from all of us."

 Here's hoping that you have a wonderful time and that you get some great photos. Have a wonderful Holiday Season!

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