7 Fun, Creative Christmas-Card Worthy Substitutes For Getting Pictures With Santa

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During every holiday season, your Facebook wall is likely littered with adorable photos of kids sitting on Santa's lap. Although getting the annual Santa photo is a dream come true for parents (and for some kids as well, since hey — it's great to have some face time with the big guy in red) there are plenty of other fun and creative Christmas card-worthy substitutes for a picture with Santa. Because you need a backup plan in case the experience leads your little one to tears.

Although photos of children crying with Santa have become pretty phenomenal traditions on their own, nobody likes to terrorize their kids. Nor do they want to wait in line, just to witness their child having a full-blown panic attack. Sometimes it's hard to predict a child's reaction, and what happens happens. But if you know that it'll be too much, then you'll definitely want an alternate photo to share with your family.

Another bad part about Santa photos is the cost. The holiday is expensive as-is, and a majority of mall Santa photo packages start around $20 — add-ons usually cost a little bit more. If you're looking for a few ways to save some pennies this holiday season, you can definitely snap your own photo for next to nothing.

Here are a few cute concepts, if you're looking for a little inspiration.

1Add Santa To Your Own Home, Digitally

Karen Belz

These days, apps will allow you to add a realistic photo of Santa in a photo of your choosing. Though the app, called CATCHY Photo Editor (Free), was originally created to help parents convince children that Christmas magic is real, it can also be used to doctor any saved photo to your liking. The app and a few basic stickers are free, but add-ons will cost you. (Other free stickers include the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny, so you can keep this app year-round.)

2Wearing Matching Pajamas

Christmas is all about pajamas. Not only is it nice to be toasty during this winter holiday, but to pretty much have a "uniform" for the year is just a reminder that the day is all about the importance of family. Gather the troops together, and take a family picture — even if it's just two or three of you.

3Dress Your Child As A Festive Elf

Public Domain Pictures / Pixabay

If your tree is already up, you've already got the perfect backdrop. There's something so sweet about seeing a baby dressed like an elf in green. And let's face it, besides Halloween, there's really no other excuse throughout the year for your toddler to rock a festive costume. If you put this picture on a Christmas card, it'll likely remain on the fridge of your friends and family throughout 2017. You can find an elf costume (or countless other Christmas-related costumes) on the Toys 'R Us website.

4Take A Photo Of Your Child While Wrapping Gifts

TookAPic / Pexels

If it's shiny and sparkly, your baby will probably be naturally interested in it. Of course, you'll want to keep a close eye on your child while playing with wrapping material (and scissors should be well out of their range.) A natural shot of your little one basking in the Christmas glow will be a lot better than a staged photo, since it'll capture their personality.

5Have Your Child Hold Last Year's Christmas Ornament

JÉSHOOTS / Pexels

There's a good chance that you created an ornament, or bought one from the store, last year to commemorate your child's Christmas. If it was a photo ornament, it'd be sweet to take a picture of your kid holding it a year later. It'll be an amazing reminder of how much they've grown.

6Surround Your Child With Sweet Christmas Plushes

Tim Gouw / Unsplash

If you've got a lot of Christmas-themed stuffed animals hanging around your house, they can be used as the perfect props for a "group photo" with your baby. Even better, they definitely know how to pose, and not ham up the picture.

7Serve Your Child Freshly Baked Christmas Cookies

Noah Hinton / Unsplash

Your child might love it if you need to take a re-shoot for some reason. If you've baked a bunch of cookies this year (and if your little one helped, or at least served as inspiration) a photo of your child enjoying the sweetness of the holiday will definitely make your friends and family feel enamored. If your child is wearing a festive Santa hat, even better.