Children enjoy story time with Santa during “Santa & Me.” (Sarah Musson)

Want ‘me time’ with Santa? He’s taking appointments

Musson: ‘I started doing this more for the fun and magic of Christmas’

SILVERDALE — ’Tis the season to get that picture taken with Santa. With any luck, Santa will be more like the Saint Nick in “Miracle on 34th Street” than Saint Snarky in “A Christmas Story.”

Ah, the crowds. Hopefully, you … won’t … have … to … wait … too … long … to see the Big Guy.

And, hopefully, you won’t blink when your picture is taken.

If only Santa took appointments.

Lucky for you, he does.

Sarah Musson of Snapshots Portrait in Silverdale ( came up with the idea for “Santa & Me.” Call 360-908-4704 and set an appointment, and you’ll get 10 minutes of “me time” with Santa. You can have hot cocoa and cookies and read a story with Santa while Musson shoots candid photos of the visit. When the visit is over, you’ll leave with some special memories — and a CD with an average of 25 unique images.

“I really don’t like the fast-paced, one-shot-wonder idea” in other Santa visits, Musson said. “I started doing this more for the fun and magic of Christmas.”

Musson did similar events at her studio for two years, then at Kitsap Golf and Country Club for three years. This year, “Santa & Me” takes place on Mickelberry Road next to Austin Chase Coffee. (Sorry, no pets.)

Dates: Dec. 1-23. Times: 5-7 p.m. Fridays; 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturdays; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.

Musson estimates she can accommodate 350 families during the season. By mid-October, 35 families had signed up. “I love the idea that some families join me every year and make it part of their Christmas experience,” Musson said. “It makes it super special for me.”

Musson said of “me time” with Santa: “The interaction is the important part. At some locations, you wait in line and you get one or maybe two pictures. It can be a stressful experience. I wanted to bring the Santa magic to the picture experience. When I started doing this, it was in five-minute increments. It’s 10 minutes now — you and Santa on his sleigh, with a beautiful background, reading a story. It’s all about the Santa experience.”

Musson is a Central Kitsap High School graduate (Class of 2000) and has been a professional portrait photographer for 14 years. She started with JC Penney, then moved to Sears where she managed the photo studio. Her husband, Jacob, then talked her into getting a business license and branching out on her own. And so she did.

And she’s been helping make Christmas memories ever since.

— Richard Walker is managing editor of Kitsap News Group. Contact him at

Members of the photographer’s family clowned around with Santa during their “Santa & Me” session. (Sarah Musson)