Sunday, December 18, 2011

Why We Don't Do Santa Pictures

We've decided to forgo the ubiquitous pictures-with-Santa, and the reasons why boil down to:

1) Some kids hate it
2) Long lines
3) Expensive pictures
4) Kids expect what they ask for
5) Not really the reason for the season
picture by Kevin Dooley via Flickr Creative Commons

Some people consider them an essential part of Christmas-even if it upsets their child. Parenting magazine has even put a "Scared of Santa" slideshow on their website and asked parents to share pictures of their kids "Scared of Santa" on the Parenting Facebook wall. I think it's sad that there are parents who find their children's discomfort funny and want to make the unpleasant moment public. And I think it's disgusting that Parenting magazine is trying to capitalize on people who don't respect their child's desire to not be sitting in some stranger's lap.
For our own family, we basically decided it's not worth our time and money to wait in a long line so our toddler can either scream or ask for an expensive toy we aren't really getting him but which he will then expect from Santa and then have a mediocre, overpriced picture of our kid and a stranger who represents the secularization and commercialization of Christmas.

I don't necessarily think it's bad in all cases for parents to do Santa pics, especially with older kids who've expressed interest in doing so. (If I remember right, I'm happy and smiling in all the pictures my parents had my brothers and I take with mall Santas), but I think that parents who ignore their children's discomfort at being handed over to a stranger, especially parents who then laugh about it, are being disrespectful of their children.

And I know it's not the right choice for our family.

Do you do Santa pictures? Why or why not?


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