Because sometimes you just gotta laugh.
It may be your family’s tradition to visit their local shopping mall sometime after Thanksgiving, dress your children in their most festive Christmas garb, and wait in line to see Santa. Sometimes, this event produces a photograph of a sweet moment that will forever be immortalized on your holiday card. But more often then not, it ends with at least one of your children screaming like they just have seen their Elf on the Shelf wink at them.
So, you’re probably thinking: Why does this commonly happen? Well, Barbara Greenberg, a clinical psychologist in Weston, Connecticut, told Real Simple that trips to Santa often happen when children are at the prime age of developing stranger anxiety. They’re not afraid of Santa, per se, but they are afraid of sitting on a complete strangers lap—especially when all of the attention is on them. If you want a better chance of getting that adorable photo, she suggests making Santa a more familiar face by watching some Christmas movies before the big visit. And even if that doesn’t assuage their fears, well, there’s always next year.
You don’t have to worry about a completely botched Santa photoshoot. Thankfully, some talented photographers are able to capture the exact moment the whimsical outing turns from “Ho ho ho,” into “Oh no no”—and when they get the shot, it’s a comedic masterpiece. We scoured #santafail for some of the most hilarious shares. Here, seven of our favorites.