Santa Photo, 2015

The planning of the annual Santa photo is very involved.  Choosing the date and the time causes a lot of fights with everyone yelling the details of their tight and restricted schedules and for further emphasis, sending me text messages in CAPS with how challenging and unreasonable my request for a trip to Santa actually is.

But I wouldn’t be defeated.

And it begins

And it begins

The afternoon of Sunday, December 13 was the scheduled appointment with a few rolling their eyes and groaning at the injustice of being dragged away from something as important as x-box, for an afternoon in the city.

However, despite my best efforts, the Santa photo didn’t take place.  That is because Alfie competed in a biatholon that morning and by the time it was over and we were ready to leave for the city, Santa had no more available appointments.


A crystal tree trunk

A crystal tree trunk

So I had to reschedule.  Everyone.  Furious text messaging followed and after I’d worn down my fingers to my elbows, it was agreed that on the first day of Alfie’s school holidays, we would try again.  There is really only one place in Sydney to see Santa and that is the Queen Victoria Building.  And I wish I’d kept that to myself because visiting Santa at the QVB is becoming increasingly popular and so many people are being turned away there are tears.

Middle level of the tree

Middle level of the tree

Alfie and I took the ferry into Circular Quay then hot-footed it to the QVB.  We ascended the stairs of the heritage listed 1898 building two at a time and charged towards the appointment booth.  We’d managed to get there by 10am and as Santa would be there until 9pm, we were hopeful.  The woman behind the desk said to me, ‘There is currently a seven-hour wait to see Santa’.  That’s not a typo – a SEVEN hour wait to see Santa.  I saw a family behind me being given the same news.  The three children were all dressed in pressed dresses and shirts with not a hair out of place and shiny-clean faces.  I wondered how they would look in seven hours.



So the little guy and I had seven hours to kill.  It’s a virtual queue where you get a text message when it’s nearly your turn and then you run back to where Santa is next to the Swarovski Christmas Tree that took 102 people 44 hours to bring to life.

Top of the tree

Top of the tree

We wandered around the shops of the QVB, stopping at Pandora where you had to queue up outside the store to be allowed in.  That sorted the first hour.  Then Alfie was hungry so we had yum cha at the Chinese restaurant on the top floor of the building.  Alfie ate five pork buns and five vegetarian dumplings and then we were on our way.

Queuing outside Pandora

Queuing outside Pandora

He wanted to visit Hobbyco toy shop where they had a race car track where he could be in charge of the remote control.  That took care of another hour.  Then he wanted to go to JB Hi-Fi; that chain of ugly stores where you can’t find anything you want, anyone to serve you, nor even the counter where you pay.

Then we wandered around the city buying green smoothies to keep up the energy levels and doing little bits of shopping.

Family shot

Family shot

Finally, I received the text message I’d been waiting for.  I messaged Drew and the kids and asked if they were on their way.  ‘In a cab’, was their reply.  Alfie and I raced back and again ascended the stairs only to be told Santa had gone to feed this reindeer.  For half an hour.  After such a long wait I felt someone was trying to tip me over the edge.  Alfie and I sat down at a cafe for a drink.  He had a soft drink, I went for hard liquor.

Poor Santa

Poor Santa

The three remaining family members arrived all looking fresh as daisies.  But Archie was sporting a vile moustache saying he had a 70’s party to go to on the 20th and as the 70’s was all about facial hair it was an important part of his ‘costume’ which had to take precedence over sitting on Santa’s lap clean shaven. did manage to get a photo of the three of them smiling sweetly and then it was on with the shenanigans and finally a shot with the parents.

It was a long day but I got my photo!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

And you can see all the photos from all our Santa years here.

Merry Christmas from the Hotly Spiced crew.



  1. I think the seven hour wait and the sideways photos are trying to tell you something??Non?

    I used you as an inspiration when my 13 yo refused to sit with Santa yesterday. I said I want one each year until he leaves home. That means I’ll probably end up with 50 or so photos if recent stats on kids leaving home are correct.

  2. Taking those yearly pictures is also a great way to bond with the trio before they spread their wings and fly away. Enjoy every moment and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  3. Oh how funny. A seven hour wait??! I was in Myers last week and Santa was there too and some poor 2 year old was terrified and absolutely howling – I felt a bit mean laughing. It’s an amazing achievement you get everyone together and I bet secretly they all love it. xx

  4. Merry Christmas Charlie and crew!!! Love the photos! At least they don’t make you wait in an actual line! Can you imagine?! Safe travels this season. Xo

  5. Woow 7 hours wait!!! but at least you got what you wanted :). Happy holidays.

  6. I’ve enjoyed every single one of your Santa photo posts—fingers crossed that next year’s event won’t involve a 7 hour wait! If I’m not back before Christmas Day, I want to wish you a glorious holiday. xoxo

  7. 7 hours to get a Santa picture…. holy wow woman, that is insane, I’d have hit the hard liquor a lot sooner than you did. 🙂 I am most impressed with the faces, especially the reindeer ears one. Haha!

    I have a new found respect for Santa/s, aside from the fact people are sitting on them all day, we had a series of Santa classes held at my work, they went through a rigorous training program, how to hold themselves proudly in that suit and how to smile genuinely, those who nailed it actually owned the fur on their face. Ha!

  8. Seven hours! I had no idea…It’s official: I have been away too long. I love the photos–all of them. Even the vile mustache is cute. But the thing that is the most fascinating is how tall Alfie has gotten! I love seeing all the years as well. Lovely memories. Warm wishes to each of you.

  9. Well done!!
    We haven’t managed one this year! 🙁
    Merry Christmas
    Gourmet Getaways

  10. It wouldn’t be hotly spiced if it was just a photo of your kids with santa – great story and hilarious pictures – have a great christmas

  11. I do love your annual Santa photo updates. What an effort it was this year! Even as a virtual queue, 7 hours is an awfully long time to wait, especially with a child. I am sure there are families who give up half way through! You ended up with some great shots though and I love that you still muster everyone for this.

  12. I truly admire your dedication and perseverance Charlie, a seven hour wait would exceed my tolerance for sure. The Christmas photos turned out beautifully, I love the shenanigans one!
    One of our local high-end malls did something totally new this year, Fashion Santa; Fasion Santa wanders the mall taking selfies with whomever wants (on Sunday Justin Bieber took one and tweeted it!). Fashion Santa is quite popular. I just can’t be bothered to be honest. We were at another mall yesterday and by 10:30 it was packed and the roads were congested. I’m going to walk up to my neighbourhood stores for last minute shopping instead!

  13. You guys are hilarious! Will you adopt me? 😉 Next year come to the states for Christmas. Not only will you have your first snowy Christmas, but we have an abundance of Santas. I don’t think you’d find such a gorgeous setting though with that Swarovski tree! 🙂

  14. The family shot is gorgeous! Can I say I have never read a more apt description of JB HI-Fi?? I’d rather cut my arm off than shop there.They make buying from them way too difficult.

    That tree is really pretty but seven hours? I’d be tempted to put a beard on the dog.

    • You are too funny, Maureen. Yep a SEVEN hour wait. I was wondering if we should turn around and go home and then come back just before our 6pm appointment but couldn’t be bothered. Decided to make a day of it in the city xx

  15. Wow, a 7 hour wait is completely insane! You are certainly really determined 🙂 On the positive side, it’s a great activity for family bonding and making memories. Happy Holidays!

  16. Why on earth am I thinking back to the days my two visited the Santa – David Jones methinks! – and there would be a Q of 3-4 and a five minute wait . . . an ‘appointment’ to see Santa beggars belief and I have to admit wondering about those ‘Santa’s elves’ and their raison d’etre 🙂 !!! But you got those family photos for the album: with way more patience I would ever have had!! Happy holidays and the best for the year t come . . .

  17. Never experienced waiting to see Santa but we used to wait in long lines to see the grotto at Selfridges in London. Santa was there at the end of the grotto so we did see him in the end. Lovely photo of the family and the kids.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family, Charlie!

  18. I really admire your persistence, Charlie.
    I hope you and yours have a fabulous Christmas. x

  19. The photos sure look like it was worth the wait and they took lots!! Have a wonderful Christmas, Charlie!

  20. I’m so impressed 🙂 7 hours I think would have done me in 🙂 but well de for sticking to your guns!!!! I hope there is one with you and Drew 🙂
    Merry Christmas Charlie, give my love to Drew and enjoy the wonderful season with your friends and family!
    Liz xxx

  21. Seven hours? That’s madness although thankfully you don’t have to wait that long in a queue. I really wanted to get a Santa photo but the idea of waiting for that long would put me over the edge! Glad to hear that you got your photo in the end. Merry Christmas to you and your family Charlie! 😀 xxx

  22. Too bad you have to make appointments in person! So much easier if you could make them online (heck, it’d be worth paying a premium for that). Anyway, glad you made the effort — great pictures. Happy Holidays!

  23. I can’t believe the wait…7 hours. I’m glad you persevered and got your photos…they are great.

  24. Well done Charlie. Perhaps we could employ you as our foreign minister as you seem to have patient and positive negotiating skills. I hope your hand has grown back after all that texting. i love the photos well done and I love that they all get into the spirit when urged! xxx

  25. Love the cheeky photos at the end! I don’t remember my parents ever taking us for a photo with Santa but I love the tradition that you have with your family. I’m sure your kids will be grateful for all your organising efforts when they look back on these!

  26. Love the cheeky photos at the end! I don’t remember my parents ever taking us for a photo with Santa but I love the tradition that you have with your family. I’m sure your kids will be grateful for all your organising efforts when they look back on these!

  27. Seven hours would definitely have pushed me over the edge Charlie. Kudos to you for hanging in there!
    A little late but Merry Christmas!
    Have a beautiful week ahead.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  28. omg! never could i wait that long for anything charlie. not even my own funeral.:) good on you for all that patience. merry xmas. hope you had a great day. x

  29. It’s taken me a few days to come and leave a comment, but I just must. As soon as you posted the “Santa Photo” I stopped and enjoyed it from my phone. I didn’t want to wait. I think it’s one of my favorite things about your Christmas posts as I just love seeing how your children have grown and you were so smart to keep this wonderful record of their Christmas “years.” I hope Christmas was as wonderful for you all as I imagine it would be! ox

  30. Just saw all the years, was brilliant to see, wonder how many more years it will go on for. 🙂

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