Crying could be heard in Burleson’s Dwell Coffee and Biscuits during a holiday open house for hospice volunteers. 

Lulu Chittum, 18 months, was crying because she was in the lap of an unfamiliar Santa Claus. She stopped as soon as her father picked her up, but not before her mother snapped a photo. Jill Chittum’s “ruined” family photo is now the winner of the Fort Worth Report’s December photo contest. 

“We have a very cute picture of her from last year when she was 6 months old where she’s just smiling on Santa’s lap. But it was her dad dressed in a Santa suit, so I’m sure that helped,” Chittum said. “This was her first time being out and seeing an actual Santa and her being more aware. I think she was a little bit scared of strangers.” 

Chittum had high hopes for the photo because Lulu was smiling and waving at Santa, the mother said. But the minute she sat her down, Lulu threw a tantrum. She took the pictures in quick succession.

The winning moment was an outlier because Lulu is usually exuberant and a fun baby to be around, Chittum said. Lulu is always photo ready because her mom is a former photojournalist and likes to take pictures of her. 

“It was also close to her normal dinner and bedtime, so we were out of routine a little bit,” Chittum said. 

January photo contest:

The TCU Horned Frogs are playing for the national championship. We want to join in the celebration with our January photo contest. Send us the best photos of you displaying TCU pride – face paint, apparel, outdoor decorations, or at the game. To submit your photos, go here. The winner of this month’s photo contest will receive a $50 gift card for Cat City Grill. The entry deadline is Jan. 31.

Chittum and her husband, Adam, have been married for 20 years and tried for years for a child. Lulu is their crazy little miracle, Chittum said.

Lulu’s birth has changed their perspectives on life, especially because Chittum was pregnant early in the pandemic. 

“I think the pandemic shifted a lot of people’s perspectives. As far as you know, tomorrow is not guaranteed and your family time is more important than ever,” she said. “Lulu is our world and our focus.” 

While Lulu is her top priority, Chittum is currently away from her daughter for a weeklong conference. She’s counting down the days until she’s back in Fort Worth.

“This will be the longest that I’ve been away from home without her,” she said. “I know by the end of the week, I’m going to be ready to get home and just pick her up and squeeze her.” 
Juan Salinas II is a reporting fellow for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at or on Twitter.

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Juan Salinas II

Born and raised in the North Side of Fort Worth. Juan Salinas II is a reporting fellow. He is a Tarrant County College transfer student who is currently studying journalism at the University of Texas at...