Maybe I'm the only one, but before I became a parent I hadn't really considered all the ins and outs of those yearly pictures with Santa. Sure, my brother and I sat on Santa's lap each year (okay, so I shyly boycotted Santa until I was five, but every year after that), but I guess I had just never pictured myself on the parent end of that ordeal. Now that I'm a parent, I'm wondering...is a yearly picture with Santa a necessary tradition?
Somehow my mental preparation for this first Christmas as a parent did not initially include taking our daughter for a picture with Santa. It wasn't until I passed a line of anxious parents and their picture-ready children waiting for their turn with St. Nick at the local mall that it hit me this was a tradition my husband and I had yet to discuss but were going to have to face. And the anxiety set in.
It's not that I have a moral, religious, or any other personal opposition to my child sitting on Santa's lap. But the thought of standing in line for an hour with a restless baby, an impatient toddler, and then, eventually, a whole gaggle of kids is scary enough. But then add in mall parking, holiday crowds, and $30 for one photo, and I'm ready to run the other way. And I have to question why we continue to perpetuate this tradition...Do we think our children will feel slighted if we don't? Do we simply want that yearly milestone photo? Is it social pressure? Or is it really a magical experience from our own memories that we don't want our children to miss?
In the end, it's pretty inevitable that we'll cave in and take our daughter to sit on Santa's lap and pose for that monumental picture in the coming weeks. The question remains, though: Is it really worthwhile?
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. What are you reasons for taking (or not taking) your children for that yearly picture with Santa? What are your own memories of sitting on Santa's lap?
(Image: Flickr user elvissa licensed for use under Creative Commons)