The Australian tradition of heading to the mall for a photo with Santa is as embedded in our collective psyches as a frothy Christmas pavlova and hot roast turkey.
But wrangling that perfect shot – especially when kids are involved – isn’t always simple when you’re sitting them on the knee of the big man in the red suit and asking them to smile.
And despite the fact it’s a celebratory time of year, the ritual often ends in tears for some.
Here FEMAIL takes a look at some brilliant photos shared by Australian families which not only capture the reason for the season but are guaranteed to make you smile.
Despite the fact it’s a celebratory time of year, the ritual can end in tears
Parents the world over know that when it comes to arranging children neatly on Santa’s lap for the perfect picture, if it can go wrong, it will.
Damian of Melbourne recently took his young daughter Alessia who is 18-months-old for that all important photo with the big red man.
‘Unfortunately, we left our daughter Alessia a little too quickly on Santa’s lap and as the photo shows it didn’t go so well!,’ Daniel told FEMAIL.
He said he and his wife learnt a valuable lesson, namely they needed to ‘ease’ their daughter in.
‘I think we rushed through it and that made her feel like she was abandoned with this weird white-bearded man!’
Photo number two resulted in a much calmer affair said Daniel (pictured left) with wife Adele (pictured right)
Baby Luna was all ready to embrace the joys of visiting Santa until she realised a photo with the big red man meant her mum wasn’t going to be by her side.
Tia, from the Gold Coast, said she hadn’t thought there were going to be any problems with her one-year-old Christmas pic.
‘She’s usually a very good girl and was happy and laughing already until she saw me standing away from her, then she looked at Santa and cried.
‘We gathered pretty quickly she didn’t like Santa much.’
Baby Luna was thrilled to meet Santa until she realised she had to have her photo taken with him without her mum by her side
Joel, 18, and Jacob, 21
Santa photos are such a tradition in this boys household every year the pair will trot down to the mall just so their mum can have a Christmas special photo.
Their mum Annette from Newcastle revealed the boys have been getting snapped with Santa each year since they were born, and every year she ‘drags them out and they take pride of place as part of our Christmas decorations.’
She explained this particular photo was her boys’ idea of revenge.
‘They bought some horrendous green Christmas shirts from Lowes and set about a funny photo.
The idea was that Santa would lay across them, but instead, Annette said Santa launched himself through the air landing on their laps, catching them by surprise.
Life lesson: Don’t try to get even with mum.
Santa took a running leap and landed on Joel and Jacob’s laps which naturally resulted in an epic photo for their mum who loves collecting the yearly snaps
Though Liv of Sydney said her kids love going to see Santa and the event is a big deal in her household, her youngest Darcy refuses to smile in any photos.
‘My youngest is infamous for her RFB [resting bitch face] and every year The Elves at the Santa photo place spend ages trying to get her to smile.
The mum-of-two said while most of her parenting is a combination of threats with a bit of bribery, she’s yet to get a result with her youngest.
‘The little one is still a bit young to understand it all but my eldest is only concerned with which list she is on. Apparently, it’s the good list.’
Apparently Darcy (pictured left) is famous for her RBF (resting bitch face) according to her mother, Liv (pictured far right)
Melanie, 26, and her brother Matt, 29
Proving that a little wit and humour go a long way, Melanie and her brother have made their annual trip to the mall for Santa photo somewhat of a family tradition.
The photos, Mel from Newcastle said, started out as a joke for her mum, and ‘escalated’ from there.
‘Every year we try and outdo the year before.’
Sister and brother duo Melanie and Matt have made their annual trip to the mall to see Santa for a photo a family tradition
Kylie-Ann, 40, and her mum Michelle, 57
If your family is of the furry four-legged variety it makes perfect sense they too would be included in precious Christmas pics.
Kylie-Ann from Guildford shared how her beloved Nicodemus, almost died the year before this photo was taken due to a severe medical condition which required invasive surgery to repair.
The mother-daughter duo, who are also best friends, knew his time left with their furry friend was precious and wanted to create some lasting memories.
‘He has a little Santa suit and hat. He just turned 14 on Halloween so we are thankful for every day we have him!’
Kylie-Ann (pictured left) with Nicodemus the cat (picture centre) and her mum Michelle (pictured right) wanted to create some special memories of their much loved furry friend