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Ho Ho No

We are probably going to disagree about this highly controversial subject, so consider yourself warned. I still love you and respect you even though we aren't gonna be seeing eye to eye on this. And no judgment if we stand on opposite sides of this topic; it's okay to disagree.

What am I talking about? Santa photos. I am mostly against this oft-practiced Christmas tradition, unless it is an impromptu and freakishly-convenient chance opportunity that involves no waiting and no tears and no direct physical contact between Little L and the red-clad bearded man. I'll get to such a scenario later; I think one does exist, albeit rarely.

My reservations about Santa aside (and I have a few, mostly to do with not wanting to confuse Little L about the true Christmas story of Jesus versus this fictitious, hyperbolic legend of a mere mortal man from the 4th century AD who happened to love Jesus), the Santa photos pose an entirely different set of concerns and hell-no's for me.

First of all, I hate waiting in line. Especially with a toddler. And do you happen to know how long those Santa lines are? Crazy long. Maddeningly long. Long enough for tantrums and meltdowns of epic proportion, either for my toddler or the other wee ones waiting for those coveted 3 minutes with the bearded jolly man. No thanks!

Secondly, Little L is still very anxious around people she isn't familiar with, or haven't seen in a long time. This includes her grandparents, her aunts and uncles and cousins, and numerous friends who she does not have daily contact with. She has never had *any* contact with a Santa "in person," and I have it on very good intuition that she is not interested in having a little chat with him, particularly since the guy's in costume and has an abundance of facial hair (which Little L is not partial to). Little L would never last for a photo op. Not for 3 minutes. Not for 3 seconds. Santa photo? Only if I want one of her in hysterical fear-crying mode.

Finally, we want to teach Little L to be cautious of strangers. Not quite "Stranger Danger," because as I have previously posted, the better term is "Tricky Grown-Ups" of any kind. However, I would definitely qualify grown men in disguise who invite little kids onto their laps as tricky grown-ups. And one of the cardinal rules for Little L will be to say No! and avoid any and all physical contact with such tricky people. To allow her, then, to sit on Santa's lap (or even beside him with his arm around her) kind of contradicts the very lesson I want to teach her! And since I wish to model the behaviour I want her to emulate, I am not about to sit myself down beside this strange costumed man either.

But as with most mommies, of course I would love to have cute Christmas pics of my kid! And if the conditions were favourable, I wouldn't be violently opposed to having the jolly red elf in the shot either. Here's a possible scenario: similar to the Disney brunches where the costumed characters come around to the tables and allow for photos, if Santa (at our upcoming Santa brunch at the Pan-Pacific) were to approach our table and pose with Little L for a pic while she was in her high chair or my lap, that would be great! No tears (especially if he stands behind us), no waiting, and no physical contact! Ideal. But probable? Maybe not.

I guess, the bottom line for me is that I don't feel that opting out of Santa photos is going to cost Little L dearly in terms of experiences at this point. I don't believe she is going to grow up feeling "robbed" of having a picture with some dude in a red suit at the mall when she was 2. When she is old enough to choose, she can totally get a Santa picture taken, but until then, I feel like Hubbs and I are doing all sorts of other cool things with her to help enrich her Christmas experiences. I don't think we need to impose this "experience" on her when we already know that it's not her thing.

And if other little tykes really want to wait an hour to sit on some random guy's lap for a few minutes and tell him what they want for Christmas, all the more power to them (and patience to their parents)! But for us, I just don't see the value or the return on investment for that hour lost standing in a noisy line-up with other miserable parents and crying children. You can find us in the park or playing hide-the-duck in our Christmas tree or seeing the pretty lights all around town instead. :)


Kitten said…
We just got a great photo with Santa with the two children on the Santa train. Santa visits all the tables to talk to the children to ask what they'd like (and to ask the parents too). Then, the parents sit down with their children and Santa stands behind everyone.

Maybe check for something like that? There's a ton of Santa breakfasts and brunches around here that do similar stuff.

Also, if you go to Santa during a weekday, chances are for no line. I took my children in early December on a Wednesday night and we didn't wait at all.

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