December 27, 2010

What is it about Santa pictures?

So Christmas is over and it's time to start downloading and checking out everyone's holiday photos. And inevitably there are several pictures of children sitting on Santa's lap.

My daughter actually did pretty good. This was the first year that I attempted to get her to sit with Ol' Saint Nick. Luckily, I took her to a tree lighting where the line had maybe ten people in it. I didn't have to wait long to feel the death grip she gave me as I started walking toward the bearded man and his belly full of jelly.

She didn't really cry, but instead didn't want me to leave her. So we have a picture in our year-end photo book of me (with my big cheese-grin) and my daughter giving me a look that says "Don't you dare leave me!"

But as we were visiting my parents over Christmas, my mom decided to take my nieces, nephew and daughter to the mall and take a pic with Santa. I told her beforehand that there was no way my daughter would sit by herself on Santa's lap. And she doesn't give two winks if her cousins are there. She is truly freaked out by Santa.

And it happened as I said it would. My daughter death-gripped my mother and good old grandma had to sit in on the picture. But my daughter smiled beautifully and the picture is definitely a keeper.

I tell you this story because I have been perusing online pictures of Santa "tantrums". You know the ones where kids are literally screaming and crying and reaching out for their parents, who are mostly likely sitting on the sidelines, giggling.

What do parents get out of subjecting their children to this obviously terrifying encounter? Do they think it is a right of passage?

I'm not saying I don't smirk and laugh at some of the pictures, but I really can't imagine letting MY daughter get hysterical just so I have a picture of her with Santa Claus.

So what do you think? Is it sadistic to subject your offspring to a frightening meet-and-greet or do you think it's harmless holiday fun?


  1. I'm not trying to be a total downer here, but I honestly feel the sadistic part might not be the picture, but the GIANT cultural lie that is Santa. Everything involving him has become some strange gimmick. We tell our kids not to lie, then lie to them. We tell them not to talk to strangers, then invite a fat man to sneak into our house while we're sleeping. It goes on and on.
    There is a million and one ways to create a magical season with your kids. Satan doesn't have to be a huge part of it. I mean, Santa.

  2. And for what it's worth, I remember my mom making me wait in what seems like the longest line ever! to sit on a strange smelly Santa lap every year growing up. I Hated it!!!!! I always knew he wasn't right.

  3. I'm glad you didn't post a Santa & daughter picture. So many times, we want to post pictures of our children online at social media sites but don't think about the ramifications, including violating their rights to privacy. Also, we have to lead by example and show some digital restraint. We need to reinforce to our children that everything we do does not have to be out there for all the world to see.

  4. I think forcing your child to sit on Santa's lap is pretty awful. If none of them want to after I have been waiting in line FOREVER, that's okay. It is supposed to be fun, not scary. I think Santa should be magical. I feel a small panic attack whenever I go near a Santa, so I don't want that for my kids. My 2 older children were so excited this year to see Santa, and we almost weren't able to. I ended up with a pretty good picture with all 3 of the kids. Zooey was slightly bribed with a candy cane, but not a tear or a whine.

  5. I would have to say that there is something a little too strange about it. I can recall having my family try to get me to take a picture with Santa, and I was not about to do it. I couldn't understand why they all wanted me to do it, but none of them wanted to either. It just didn't seem to add up. I could tell there was something fishy going on.... I'd have to say I agree with MamaSita on the not lying to our children about Santa. Remember what Bob Marley said, "Tell the children the truth."