I love Christmas, even more so since having children. There is something so exciting and magical about seeing Christmas through a childs eyes and starting family traditions that they will remember forever.
I am a big fan of annual traditions and we have a few in our house. My children are allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve and its always matching pjs that they can then wear to bed that night. We have a cute photo every Christmas morning of them in matching Christmas pjs.
We also let the kids choose a special bauble each year that they hang on the tree. It's so much fun getting them out each year and trying to remember where they came from. When they are older and move out of home they can take their collection of baubles with them for their own tree.
One tradition we don't have in our family is the annual Santa photo. We tried to, I have a photo from the first three years of my eldest's life but since then, they have point blank refused to go and visit Santa and there is absolutely no way they will sit on his lap.
I actually have no problem with this, none whatsoever. I made the decision early on that the whole Santa thing is a bit weird anyway. We spend so much time telling our kids to be wary of strangers and to trust any uncomfortable feeling in their guts and listen to what their body is telling them so they know when they are scared or in danger and yet they are forced to be held and sit on the knee of a man we actually know nothing about.
Before I had kids I never really thought much about visiting Santa but when I had my first baby I was very excited to get the adorable photo in the cute dress. We took her to QVB in Sydney and they go all out with the theme and decorations and create a beautiful winter wonderland. It was a gorgeous photo and we went back the following year. This time she was two and a little nervous but we sat with her and eventually she was ok. No tears, just apprehensive.
Year three we also had our newborn baby and honestly I was in a daze so couldn't really be bothered with a Santa photo but one day we passed a random Santa in a shopping centre and my daughter was keen so we made an impromptu stop for a photo. There were no lines and he wasn't the most authentic Santa but everyone was happy so that was a win!
Then, the following year my daughter developed a massive phobia about Santa. I have no idea where it came from but it was real and there was no negotiating around it. She wouldn't even walk past him at the shops. I asked her one day if she wanted to go and see Santa to tell him what she wanted for Christmas and her response was "no mummy, lets just send him a letter" so we did.
Same again the following year and because little sis copies everything her big sis does, no one saw Santa.
I think a cute Santa photo with a happy and excited child who clearly looks completely awestruck and beside themselves about the fact that they are meeting the real Santa is so gorgeous. If my kids were keen I would be all for the cuteness.
But I am really surprised by the number of parents who not only force their kids to have photos with Santa but then even if they are crying and obviously scared in the photo, share them on social media and display them in their home?
I will never understand the terrified Santa photo. Some of these kids are completely hysterical and reaching out to their parent! What are they thinking? Quick, take a photo of this. I've actually seen parents getting cross at their kids because they aren't smiling for the photo.
Look, save your money and their future therapy bills and just write a letter. Most post offices now have a special north pole direct letterbox and you even get a response from Santa. Perfect!
One day my daughters may request a visit to Santa and if that day comes we will go out and find the most authentic looking Santa we can and get right into it. That photo will be displayed proudly in our home but until then, I'm off to our annual trip to Australia Post.