My child is afraid of Santa, can we try and make her smile?

We've been running the Santa House since 2011 can tell you that very rarely can we change a child’s mind about Santa. So—we ask you to embrace the crying photo or come again another day. Sometimes visiting a couple of times helps. For the best crying photo we do the “drop and run. Drop your child on Santa’s lap and run BEHIND the photographer. Your child will reach towards the camera for you. Classic! 
If it appears to us that your child  (generally children old enough to remember) may be traumatized by their visit with Santa we reserve the right to refuse service. The drop and run will occur no longer than 30 seconds (if that). We won't prolong it. 

My child is on Santa’s lap and is going to smile, (Yay!) now what? 

Keep the focus on Santa and the photographer. Relax and let them do their job.   Santa's house is very cramped (it was made for elves!)  so we will ask you to step outside behind the photographer (if you can). We need to make room for our staff to do their best work. Once you're behind the photographer you can talk to your children and make them laugh and smile.

Is there a minimum purchase? 

When you have the photographer take a photo you are agreeing to purchase a photo.  Minimum purchase, $15. We print every picture to make it easy and quick for you to chose.

Can I take pictures with my cell phone or camera?

You're probably used to capturing everything with your phone and wonder why you can't just "take a quick pic" with it. Santa house is not sponsored by a company. We don't get money from McDonald's or Shutterstock like most mall Santas.   We're run by a small Martinez home-based photography business that has agreed to cover all of the expenses (printers, labor, sets, cameras) in exchange for the opportunity to bring Santa to our community. We are driven by the desire to bring a unique Santa experience and tradition to all local children. We bring back the same staff (all Martinez residents) every year (when possible)  so there's continuity and familiarity when you visit us. We compensate our local staff well above what Santa's helpers usually make so they return and give knowledgeable service. We are able to offer this unique Santa experience by virtue of our photo sales. Please respect our cell phone free zone. We don't like to ask you to put your phone away (it doesn't feel very jolly) but we will if we have to. 

Can we just visit Santa without a photo?

Of course. We may even invite you in sooner if we have a lot of guests who are waiting to check out so please let us know if you are just stopping by for a quick chat with the big guy. Remember; Santa House is a cell phone free zone. 

How long can we hang out with St. Nick?

We average three-to five minutes of Santa time for each guest if we are busy. Some visits may take longer than others. Some kids just nail it. Others don't. That's OK!  We try and be sensitive to special requests and needs because no child is alike. Please communicate those needs to us as we get started, if possible.

We don't really dig waiting in line. Is there a good time to come or can we make reservations?

We do not accept reservations. Our services are provided on a first come, first-served basis. We don't have peak busy/slow times (we generally have a steady  stream of visitors).  If you want updates during unexpectedly slow times please check our Facebook page here . We will post an update if Santa is getting lonely.   Because we are focused on our guests we let the phone go to voicemail during business hours.  We'll return your message within 24 hours. 

What payment methods do you take?

We take cash or credit cards only. No personal checks. No bills over $20. 

How will I get my digital photo?

If you purchase 2 or more photos we'll put them on a holiday-themed thumb drive. We will email up to 2 photos to you.

Can you accommodate large parties?

Groups of 6 or more more are a minimum purchase of $45. Family groups with more than 1 immediate family will be treated as separate groups when purchasing (no consolidation of families for one purchase of all files).  Please try and come during the last 30 minutes of service so that we can spend more time with you without inconveniencing other visitors. 

Do you take pets?  

Well-behaved housebroken pets are welcomed.  We reserve the right to refuse service to pets that may be uncooperative. If your dog doesn't like other dogs or is aggressive in the least, please leave him/her home. That said, we are friendly to all breeds. 

How long do you keep my photos? Can I buy more if I change my mind?

To insure that we can get your photos to you in the event of an email glitch or a faulty thumbdrive we keep your photos until January 1. After January 1 photos are purged. Please make your purchases BEFORE leaving the Santa House. We will not sell pictures after you have left the house because we need to give new visitors our full attention. 

I didn't get my photos emailed to me or my thumb drive is empty. What do I do? 

Before January 1st please send an email with date and time of visit, a photo of your child, a description of what they were wearing, image number on your slip and any other identifying feature (my kid was the one who wouldn't stop laughing) along with proof of purchase (email receipt, slip with image # or screenshot of purchase from bank statement) to mailto:Santa_Claus@sweetnessandlightphoto.com
 Santa House is not staffed when we are closed.  We will email you any missing photos during our hours of operation (we send photos shortly before opening, lunchtime or directly after closing time). 

I really liked the photographer. Does she do family portraits or other photography?

Yes! Our photographer specializes in on-location photography and we do family portraits, weddings,  events, food and business photography. Please visit Sweetness and Light Photography for more information