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If you're planning to have Santa at an event, there are several things to keep in mind to ensure that the experience is enjoyable and memorable for both Santa and the attendees. Below is seven essential tips that apply to most Santa & Mrs. Claus events.

First event tip is to plan ahead and stay in touch with Santa before the day arrives so your home visit is a guaranteed success. Communication with Santa is key to having a successful visit. 

This is not our first sleigh ride and we can give you some tips and ideas that can help you.  Call us (219) 629-0856, email us, text us, chat, and make certain to finalize your plans before the season is too busy.

I will need to know how many people will be there and what ages. Be sure to share the names of the children; Santa will do his best to remember them. You can also introduce them simply, such as, “Santa, this is Suzy who is seven years old, and Michael just turned nine.” I actually use a child questionnaire for each child for specific reasons related to my performance. 

Santa is happy to accommodate special needs for those he visits. He should also know about any language barriers or cultural considerations ahead of time. Santa Doug only speaks English and is not adverse in sign-language. 

If you live in a gated community or have a special entrance in mind, make sure to share access codes and directions ahead of time.

Santa needs the cell phone number of someone designated to wait for his text message that he is ready to make his entrance. Your point person should make sure their phone is fully charged, keep an eye on their messages, and be prepared to help if there are any issues.

If there’s been the passing of a loved one recently or someone is currently stationed overseas, it helps Santa to know, just to avoid touching on issues. And if you have someone missing from the event, Santa could help you record a special message for them.

Does your family participate in “Elf on the Shelf”? Santa loves being “in” on this tradition! But it helps Santa to know the name of those elves and what they have been up to.

Please have a parking spot available for Santa's sleigh (car). It should be nearby but not in view of the guests. 

If there are any pets who might be over-excited by a big guy in a fur-trimmed red suit, it might be best for them to relax elsewhere, in a closed room.


After Santa makes his entrance, he should have a designated place to sit. Santa will need a sturdy chair without arms. A straight-backed dining chair will work fine. Leave a bit of room behind the chair for family photos if possible. Often a dining room table chair will work just fine, and you can dress it up with a pretty Christmas blanket. Forest green or dark blue looks great in photos!

It is always special for Santa Claus to make a grand entrance. Plan for your guests to arrive before Santa. Santa  will contact you 5-10 minutes prior to his arrival. Be prepared for your guests to all gather around and take photos of the grand entrance.

Are you ready to make your event unforgettable? We've got an option that's sure to impress! Picture this: Santa's "Grand Entrance" accompanied by stunning music, setting the scene for a truly magical moment. Santa or Mrs. Claus will enter your home with a flickering lantern while playing: Loreen Mc Kennitt's "The Christmas Bells," (from movie The Santa Clause #1),  trust us, your children and guests won't be able to resist the wonder and excitement that comes with this unique entrance. This form of Grand Entrance isn't required but is our standard offering for home visits & corporate entrances.

Loreen Mc Kennitt - The Christmas Bells (from the Santa Claus Movie)


CLICK HERE to See a Video of a Home Visit Grand Entry


We recommend putting it near the Christmas tree or someplace well-lit with a festive background. Avoid putting Santa near the roaring fireplace; he’s already very warm. Photos can still be taken in front of a fireplace later. Keeping the house a little cooler is great for Ol’ St. Nick. Avoid putting him in front of lots of glass because you’ll get flash bounce and glare in your photos. Arrange the chair so the kids can sit down in front of him.

A Christmas performance is for the everyone. When the music is blaring or the crowd is loud and rowdy, some of the magic will be lost if Santa can’t be heard. While Santa is there, have everybody join in and have your revelers tone it down until Santa heads for the sleigh



Presents are one of the biggest part of Christmas, that is besides our ultimate gift of Jesus Christ! The man in big red suit is a pro at gift-giving, but there are a few things you can do to help him out...

Put your presents in a large plastic trash bag marked with a bright ribbon. Make sure it’s easily accessible and able to be lifted into Santa’s bag. If there are lots of presents or they are extremely heavy, get some elf hats and have a few helpers meet Santa outside. Remember, if you cannot carry all the gifts at once, it might be hard to have Santa carry all of them at the same time, too. Santa does have two Santa Bags.

Write the name clearly in large print with a marker directly onto the wrapping paper. Labels usually fall off in Santa’s bag. If this is a group gathering, make certain you can distinguish between people with the same name. If the names might be challenging, have someone help Santa with the pronunciations. Having someone help Santa read the names would be best. One of our clients shared a great idea that you can get personalized wrapping paper....Click Here.

If this event includes many families, have a few small backup gifts just in case someone did not get the word. Stuffed animals and gift cards work well. You could even pass them over saying, “Oh, Santa, you dropped these.” The last thing you want is Santa's bag to be empty and there is still children who haven't received a gift.

Of course, you can just hand them out and open them. Little kids will often just do this anyway. But another fun way is called a “Countdown and Out.” Santa hands out the presents, but everyone waits to open them until Santa is leaving. Santa starts the countdown, saying, “5, 4, 3, 2, 1… Merry Christmas!” Then the paper flies! The advantage is that Santa leaves on a high point, and no one tries to follow him out to see the reindeer. In fact, assign someone to make sure the kids don’t follow him outside.


Meeting Santa always needs photographic evidence, so make sure you’re ready for this important task. Don’t want the pressure on you? Hire a photographer instead! Either way you need to be prepared for people taking photos. Everybody wants a photo with Santa.

Have all your cameras and smartphones ready, fully charged, connected to wi-fi, and prepared before the event begins.


If Santa will be seated for photos try to avoid “back lit”  background areas for your pictures such as a window (during the day) or a plain white wall these backgrounds are so bright they will result in Santa’s face and his visitors face to be darkened or in a shadow. A Christmas Tree always makes for a pretty background.

Try to get the photos done early in the event. You’ll have time to get everything you want and folks are still fresh with the wonder of the visit. Then you can relax and just visit!

Santa is usually good with pets, but if you want photos with pets, there should be a lap blanket and plenty of advanced notice. If Santa has to visit someone else that day who is allergic to pets, he might not be able to hold your pet for the photo. Instead, he will ask you to hold them and stand or sit nearby.



When it comes time for Santa to depart it is not unusual for children to want to follow Santa out. Often they want to see the sleigh and reindeer. Be ready to have a distraction to pull the kids away. Often if gifts are given Santa will have all the children open the gifts at the same time with a count-down and Santa will leave on a high note during that time.

  • Santa is not likely to tell children they are on the naughty list, even if you ask him to.
  • Santa is not likely to eat or drink, beyond a few nibbles or sips. A bottle of water is always  welcome. However, it might be difficult to keep a beard pristine and white gloves stain easily.
  • Please no smoking – Santa would prefer to not be around smoke as it makes his suit smell, and would require dry-cleaning fees.
  • Santa will not accept any drink that is alcoholic. Remember, he has to drive the sleigh.


If there is a payment is due please place it inside of a Christmas card or an envelope labeled “For Santa” and hand it to Santa at the end of his visit stating “This is something that we would like you to have.” We prefer to have payment prior to visit. It is never appropriate to hand cash or check to Santa  where others can see. Please make out checks to Doug Van Der Weide or Santa Doug LLC.


While the likeness of Santa, Mrs. Claus, are public domain, our portrayals of these legendary Christmas figures is not public domain. We are proud Christians who don't bend our morals and we must ensure our likenesses are used tastefully.

Due to the cost of cleaning and maintenance of clothing, Santa Doug and/or Mrs. Claus will not perform in venues where tobacco smoke is present. If Santa and/or Mrs. Claus arrive at an event in which smoke is present, the venue host will incur a cost of $100 for the cleaning of Entertainer(s) clothing.

Santa does not provide a photographer and all photos taken of Santa and/or Mrs. Claus, whether by individuals or professional photographers, are for private or personal use of the client/s and their guests only and may not be used for commercial or promotional use without the express permission of Santa Doug LLC. Any person or business who uses photos of  Santa Doug LLC and/or Mrs. Claus to promote an event must have gained approval of Santa Doug LLC and promotional advertisements must list "Santa Doug LLC" and/or "Mrs. Claus" as the performer somewhere within event promotion if the generic name "Santa" is used to promote event.

Should any activities at the event venue create a volatile or harmful situation that may endanger the safety and well-being of Santa and/or Mrs. Claus or be of a nature unbecoming or negative to traditional Christmas/Holiday activities or if there is any presence of illegal substances or activities, Santa Doug LLC and/or Mrs. Claus have full rights to immediately terminate appearance and leave the venue. Further, the client will still be liable for the full value of the contract.

The host(ess) will not allow any other adult to dress as Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, Mrs. Claus, or any other Christmas character that could be viewed by guests and/or the general public as representing Santa Doug LLC and/or Mrs. Claus while Santa Doug LLC and/or Mrs. Claus is at event. If other adults are dressed as these aforementioned characters while Santa Doug LLC and/or Mrs. Claus is at event it will be treated as a breech of contract and Santa Doug LLC and/or Mrs. Claus will be free to leave event immediately and host(ess) will be liable for the full value of the contract.

Thank you for your understand and taking the time out to read this. We look forward to making your Christmas magical.


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