At Christmastime, nobody works the camera like Santa Claus.
Children, adults and even pets regularly climb onto his lap and smile (or cry) for a photograph, capturing the holiday moment for posterity. Each year, some of you share those moments with us in our annual “Christmas With Santa” photo contest.
Again this year, the entries we received showed the wide range of reactions — joy, fear, surprise, apprehension and delight — the old fellow elicits. Maybe it’s the bright red suit and the abundant white beard. Or maybe it’s actually seeing this good-hearted legend up so very close.
While Santa is the reason for the photos, the real stars in each image are the children, even those who dissolved into tears.
For the contest, The Daily Gazette asked readers to post their Santa photos with us online. Visitors to the site then voted on their favorites.
The popular vote-getter was “Cully’s First Christmas,” submitted by Stephanie Vanderwerker of Glenville. The photo, taken last year at Crossgates Mall, features her son Cullen, who was 6 months old at the time. “To me, it’s about more than the photo. It’s about celebrating the true spirit of Christmas.” That, she explained, is why she will donate her contest prize to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
As we’ve done in the past, the second contest winner is chosen by The Gazette’s editorial staff. This year, the newsroom chose an entry titled “Oooooo presents!” featuring the supremely excited reaction of Joel, Meaghan MacDonald’s 2-year-old son, as he met Santa at the Wilton Mall.
Each of the two winners will receive a $100 prize.
The Christmas With Santa contest was again this year sponsored by Fidelis Care.