Visiting Santa: Yay or Nay?

Photo: UsedtobeGoldie / The Bump Photo: UsedtobeGoldie / The Bump

I believe there are two types of children in this world: those who adore sitting on Santa’s lap and telling him what they want for Christmas, and those who wouldn’t go near a strange fat guy in a red suit even if he were covered in gumdrops and handing out winning lottery tickets. My kids were always the second type.

It’s not that surprising, since the whole “mall Santa” experience was not a part of my childhood. I admit, I find the concept a little creepy. “Go on, sweetie! Go sit on that bearded stranger’s lap and tell him all your deepest desires. Sure, you can take a candy cane from him!”

But there’s no denying that a picture of a sweet little cherub perched on Santa’s lap is adorable. Even if the kid is wailing. Especially then. There are entire web sites devoted to funny pictures of kids with Santa. How could I miss out on that?

There’s a mall near us with a really authentic-looking Santa Claus. A real, snow-white beard, a plush, red velvet suit, shiny black boots, the whole bit. A grandfatherly type, not creepy at all. I figured if I was going to force my precious babies to sit on a stranger’s lap for a photo opp, this would be the place.

For a couple years, neither one of my boys was having it. But last year, things changed. During a trip to the mall, they both decided they wanted to visit Santa. OK, the five-year-old decided and his little brother followed. I think they didn’t want to take any chances with their Christmas lists. Better to tell Santa directly the exact kind of remote-controlled monster truck you want, rather than risk ending up with some off-brand piece of junk under the tree.

So we waited, and waited, and waited in line for our turn with Santa. Then the little guy chickened out. He dug in his heels like I was dragging him to the doctor for shots. Even when Santa himself tried to gently coax him over, he wouldn’t go. His big brother did, though. Little brother witnessed this and went nuts.

In typical toddler fashion, he changed his mind and decided he did want to sit on Santa’s lap after all. So again, we waited. And waited. And once again, he got cold feet when he got to the front of the line. No friendly elf could persuade him to get within arm’s reach of St. Nick. He did accept a candy cane, though.

Oh, well. At least we gave one of our kids the mall Santa experience. Somewhere, the in-laws have the pictures to prove it. They weren’t as hilariously awful as I’d hoped.

Will you take your child to visit Santa this year?