Santa Claus had no idea what he was in for when 10 sets of twins showed up to take a picture with him in Illinois this week.
On Monday, Stacy Kifer, co-founder of “Chicago Twin Moms” — a parenting group for moms with multiples under the age of two in the Chicago area — showed up at the Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Illinois with 20 toddlers and their mothers for a very special holiday picture.
Kifer told PEOPLE that while “Santa (and the mall) had NO idea this was happening,” the group outing was far from an impulsive decision.
The mothers had started planning for the twin-filled photo a few weeks earlier, when they first noticed the mall was setting up for Santa’s arrival. “I suggested it would be fun to get as many sets of twins as possible in a photo with Santa,” said Kifer, mother to 16-month-old twins Kaleb and Kobe. “We put it out there to our entire group and suggested they all wear read and/or green for the photo.”
She also noted that “We are all really into clothes and dressing our kids alike, so many of us even had the same shirts as each other that we got from a fellow twin mom’s t-shirt business.”
In order to minimize chaos, the group got to the mall early so they could be the first in line. But before the twins could take their photo with Santa, they were taken to a waiting area that looked like a giant snow globe. “That was the really wild part,” she added. “20 toddlers running around with fake snow!”
When it was finally picture time, Kifer said that “the look on when more twins just kept coming out of the waiting area was pretty priceless.”
However, the moms quickly realized that if there was going to be any chance of keeping their little ones still, they would have to be in the photo too.
But, luckily, they had some help keeping the children focused: “Santa’s ‘elves’ and the photographer were amazing at getting all the kids to look at them.”
Added Kifer, “We only had one meltdown which we thought was pretty good given the number of kids .”
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Kifer told PEOPLE she “started this group to form a support system for twin moms.”
“There are several local twin clubs in the area, but none focused specifically on kids similar ages to mine,” she continued. “I quickly found with infant twins it was hard to even leave the house at first and many people did not understand that.”
She added, “We started out just getting together for lunch one day and it grew into a regular thing.”
The group — which meets once a month for official events — have been to parks, petting zoos, a pumpkin farm, and even the library for past playdates.
“It’s been fun to watch the kids start to interact and play as they get older, but we have also formed some genuine mom friendships,” Kifer said.
“We aren’t just a random playgroup — we are there for each other to celebrate victories, hear about each other’s hard days and even loan each other outfits!” she continued, adding that “One of our mom’s just noted yesterday that where else could you borrow two of something you need other than our twin group.”