Over 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