Getting two kids dressed in Christmas attire, bundled in coats-scarves-hats-gloves, seat-belted in the car, dragged out of the car, plopped in the stroller, to the mall, through the crowds, on line, and on Santa’s lap is it’s own version of hell. Shouldn’t that be accurately captured by the end product photo? I mean, do we really think that because our little Gremlins are dressed in big bows and Christmas vests that they’ll forget they’re Gremlins and sit still for 10 seconds and smile bright like a Christmas freaking miracle? I say, screw it. What if this year, we let them take the worst, most awkward christmas photos. Heck, what if we helped them take the worst, most awkward christmas photos?
I’ll be honest, a few years back, before Ti was even born, Fa and her cousins took what might qualify as the worst Christmas picture ever and years later, guys, it’s still my favorite Christmas picture. So maybe this year, I’ll try it. I’ll loosen the reigns and do all the things wrong to get the most awkward christmas photos imaginable.
If you want to try it too, here are some steps you could follow to take the best worst picture with Santa.
1. Don’t feed them.
Kids on an empty stomach are like those Snickers commercials of grown adults acting like a bitchy Betty White. Hangry is a real thing. This is a solid base.
2. Be Outnumbered
When you have more kids than adults, they’ve got you outnumbered. They know you can’t watch all of them all the time so they’ll inevitably run around the mall like delinquent crack elves. If you’re lucky, they’ll barrel into strangers… who don’t have kids. Maybe those strangers could even shoot you a judgmental you’re-the-worst-parent-ever stare. Oh yes… we’re on our way.
Wake them up early that day and make sure that no one naps. if they try to doze off, smack them with the ice bucket challenge. If we are shooting for terrible photos, we need pure exhaustion.
4. Have high expectations.
Since they’re nice and tired, expect your kids to patiently wait on line without complaining. And to be reasonable and properly behaved. I know this is the kid that has taken his pants off in public before but asking them to be a different kid will solidify a major meltdown which is a straight shot to taking awkward christmas photos.
5. Give them candy.
A lot of it. Offer lollipops and gumdrops and – crap – offer them a bottle of spiced rum. You’re aiming to have them hopped up and nuts for these awkward christmas photos.
6. Or better yet…
Hold out. Tell them you have candy but that you aren’t giving it to them yet. And then pop a Skittle in your mouth.
7. enlist elf help.
Explain to the elf taking the pictures that there is no need to shake the squeaky toy to make your kid laugh. Explain to the elf taking the pictures to just start shooting. Every moment of a crying fir or awkward Christmas pictures counts. So shoot everything.
8. Tell your kids This will only take a second
Plop your kid on Santa’s lap and tell them you “just need one photo” and then when they try and dart after that photo, drag them back and say “ok. Now just one more.”
9. Practice makes perfect
Have kids practice their best angry, uninterested, terrified, or blank stare. Have one look up to the sky in bewilderment and hold the other one down with that stealth mom grasp that only moms have. If anyone smiles or shows positive emotion, do it over.
10. pay a lot
You have so many Christmas pictures of the kids with Santa but hey, what’s one more package. And if you spend $50 more you get a free keychain for the keychain size photos.
11. Embrace the madness
Embrace the holidays. It is madness. But it’s pure, beautiful, magical madness and I adore it. From the way my back hurts when I’ve wrapped too many gifts to these timeless awkward Christmas pictures of kids crying on Santa’s lap – it isn’t meant to be perfect, let alone look perfect. So don’t take it too seriously. I guarantee you that no one on that line is judging you too harshly. At least not to your face. And if they do, you have my permission to take them down.