Letting Your Crying Baby Sit in Santa's Lap Is Just Plain Mean

santaOver the weekend, we took my daughter to see Santa. It wasn't planned. She wasn't wearing her "Santa" outfit. It just happened. My husband and I were doing a little Christmas shopping when we stumbled upon a Santa -- and there was literally no line -- so we decided to go for it without very much discussion at all. I was nervous as I handed my 7-month-old over to what ostensibly looked like an old hippie. Or a psychopath. But when she sat in Santa's lap -- nothing happened. Like, at all. She just looked at him, blinked, and then it was over. 

I was prepared for her to cry. And if she cried, I was prepared to graciously take her out of Santa's lap. Because that whole kids crying in Santa's lap thing -- so not cute.

Well, correction, it is cute. Whose heart doesn't melt at the sight of a little one's lip quivering? And what mom doesn't love it when their kid cries when placed in someone else's arms? But leaving the poor kid in Santa's lap, and snap, snap, snapping away for two minutes? That's not cute.

Maybe parents are too sensitive these days, but, the way I see it, why leave your little baby in the arms of a wild-looking stranger while they're screaming (and you're looking on) for the sake of a picture? You have a million and one pictures already. If you happen to get a photo out of your child crying in Santa's lap, of course, buy it. But don't let your baby sit there in hopes of getting the perfect shot. Or because you think photos of kids crying in Santa's lap are funny and cute. The photograph might wind up being cute, but the act in and of itself is ... sort of cruel. Would you like to be left in the lap of a giant monster-looking person if you were crying? Probably not. (Not to mention the fact that this will probably make your kid perpetually terrified of ol' St. Nick!)

In the end, my Santa experience wound up working out. And I honestly think it's because it happened so organically (my daughter definitely has been known to cry when I hand her off to someone else). I don't expect to have this kind of luck every year. But for now, I'll take it.

What happened when you took your kid to see Santa?


Image via daveynin/Flickr

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Tracey Plummer

Oh please. My daughter did fine when she was a baby. When she was one, she cried as soon as we put her on Santa's lap. Yes, we have a pic of it and yes, it is adorable. It also didn't traumatize her for life, or make her scared of Santa, because guess what.....SHE DOESN'T EVEN REMEMBER IT!!! The next year she couldn't wait to go see Santa. Plus it is one of her favorite pics now. She laughs every time she looks at it. People need to stop being so sensitive. Everything little thing that makes a baby cry is not going to scar them for life.

kelly... kelly24019

^^maybe we should make them cry and ignore them because hey, they won't remember it

DebaLa DebaLa

I'm not that much of a "gotta have every annual shot of my kid doing [whatever]" parent. I wouldn't push it if my daughter ever expressed discomfort for a posed shot. There are plenty of opps for the more memorable, candid ones.


My oldest dd was about 5 months old last year and she did fine with Santa. This year she is 16 months and I'm not sure how she'll do. But dd2 isn't even two weeks old yet so I think she'll do just fine lol

Estel... EstellaHavisham

During Christmas my uncle puts a series of "Santa and Children in Various States of Agony and Despair" up on the walls. They are pictures of his three children at various ages crying/screaming on Santa's lap. They are hysterical and a highlight of the season.

The kids are now 15, 12, and 5. The eldest are undamaged by this. We're still waiting for conclusive reports on the youngest. Something tells me he'll be okay, though. 

fave82 fave82

It takes about 2 seconds for them to take the pic.. not snap snap snapping away for 2 minutes... they want to get you in and get you out and move on to the next kid. It's not really a photo op.

Tracey Plummer

fave82, you are absolutely right! I think it took about 30 seconds to get the crying pic of my daughter. It's not like we just left her there to suffer. Now once they start talking, and have a list a mile long to tell Santa and refuse to get off his lap, then Santa is the one who is crying and terrorized. LOL

amiec... amiecanflie

My son is 3 and still terrified. So I guess no santa tales or pictures for him. 

jec72579 jec72579

Wow, people are way too sensitive!!! My God! At least the majority of the commenters here understand that putting a kid on Santa's lap, and letting him sit there and cry for less than a minute, WILL NOT damage them. The kids will not remember it, and it gives us parents another memory. 

I think people need to understand that KIDS CRY. That's part of growing up. It is a Normal part of life. I think that NOT letting them get upset would damage them more!!!!!

JessL... JessLogansMommy

We did the "Drop and click" method with my second.  My oldest got on Santas lap, I had the photographer get ready and I would put him on Santas lap next to his brother and she would snap the picture before he realized where he was.  I did have my husband take one too just before I picked him up so we do have the crying picture.  He was on Santas lap a whole 5 seconds and we have the good picture and the real picture to show for it.  So I'm sure you can add that to the list of how i'm a bad parent, its right up there with letting them eat the red M&M's. 

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