Friday, December 10, 2010

Going to Visit Santa- Full of Excitement or Full of Nerves?

I have this coffee table book that was given to me by a friend called ‘Scared of Santa: Scenes of Terror in Toyland.’ It’s a compilation of photos of children sitting in Santa’s lap. Crying. While I have to admit that it is funny and if you could see some of the Santas in this book they might even make you cry, I feel the need to take this opportunity to make the following holiday public service announcement: PLEASE don’t let this happen to your child- examine your motivation for taking your child to visit Santa.

As I was flipping through the book, I started thinking- do parents take their children to visit Santa because the children want to? Or is it because parents want that annual holiday party favor of a photo of their child on the lap of the big guy? Or maybe we parents really want our children to love Santa the way we loved Santa, so we try, year after year, to no avail. Or maybe (and I empathize with this one, really I do) it’s because we stood in line for over an hour at the mall behind a screaming kid, having to smell Cinnabon the entire time, and We. Are. Not. Giving. Up. Now.

Now, I should say, some children LOVE visiting Santa. I myself have a memory of going to visit Santa and, when it was my turn, taking the liberty of completely reclining on his lap as if to say, ‘Okay, dude, this is going to be a while. I’ve got a lot on the list and this happens once a year. Let’s both get comfortable.’ For those children, go forth. Visit Santa.

Some children really want to visit Santa in person and then get nervous at the last minute. We’ll call it ‘Santa anxiety.’ For those children, here are a few tips that may help the process:

  • Explain what it will be like before you go. Show her pictures of Santa. Tell her exactly what will happen.
  • When you get there, approach the Santa station slowly, explaining again exactly what will happen.
  • If needed, go with him to sit on Santa’s lap. Don’t be embarrassed. Santa’s seen everything. I promise.
  • If she’s still scared, come back later, or come back next year. The stress, the tears, the anxiety- they’re NOT worth it.

Still, some children just aren’t the ‘Santa visiting’ kind. For those children, I encourage you to find other ways for your children to connect with the Man in Red. Your child can send Santa an email here. And guess what? Santa will email back within 3 days!

Always, always reassure your little one that Santa will absolutely still visit on Christmas Eve. The visit beforehand is just for fun J


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