Dec 25, 2009

Lessons Learned from Photos with Santa

Since I decided to take the day off because I'm busy playing with Jane's toys and eating candy, chocolate and turkey, it was perfect timing that I was contacted by Kathy Ferris from to do a guest post. 

She had many ideas for Holiday posts but we both agreed that writing about pictures with Santa might provide the most entertainment value! :) Here goes...

Every parent has been there. We have all experienced the joy, the anticipation, the sheer excitement of the annual event that our children look forward to all year long. You know the customary visit to Santa Claus at the nearest shopping mall, complete with fanciful decorations, free miniature candy canes, exorbitantly priced photography, and enough elves to staff an aircraft carrier. This holiday custom endures despite economic recessions, flu epidemics, and cranky younger siblings who simply aren’t old enough to grasp what all the fuss is about, and there is much to be learned by participating in the yearly excursion. There are even bonus points offered to those who participate willingly.

My own learning experience began one chilly morning, when I was awakened before sunrise by my young daughter tugging on my nightgown and jumping up and down, saying “It’s today, Mama! We see Santa today!” As I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and realized that it was only 5am, the first lesson of this blessed experience hit me: Children anticipating a visit to Santa forget how to tell time, and they don’t care that the mall doesn’t open for another five hours.
That’s all right though, because it took the full five hours to get my daughter bathed, dressed, fed, her hair properly curled and her shoes properly polished to meet this icon of holiday spirit appropriately decked out. Of course it was a blustery day, and between the wind, snow flurries, and sloppy slush left over from yesterday’s melting ice, we arrived at Santa’s throne room in quite a state of disarray. This was where I came face to face with lesson number two: Wrap your child completely in plastic from head to toe before venturing out if you expect to maintain the scrubbed and polished child-awaiting-Christmas look long enough for those high-priced photos with Santa, or you might end up thinking that a large drowned kitten jumped onto Santa’s lap while the photographer wasn’t looking.

Now, let’s talk about food. Sure, there are elves scurrying about, Christmas carols playing, and beautiful decorations upon which any young child will gladly focus their attention…for about three minutes. Considering that the wait to see Santa could be quite long, hunger is going to become a factor in whether or not both parent and child survive this adventure. Not to mention, interesting snacks can be a superb distraction for a fidgety child when impatience runs high and holiday cheer begins to run low. Lesson number three seems to evolve from pure survival instinct: Bring munchies! Just make sure they aren’t the sticky, melty, dribbly kind that will stain your child’s cute little Christmas outfit or put them on a sugar high that transforms them into a human ping-pong ball.

The most important lesson I learned from our visit to see the jolly man in red was this: Remember how fascinating this whole experience was when YOU were a child, because these are the times that memories are made of. My daughter was exhausted by the end of our excursion, and fell asleep on the way home clutching her candy cane in one hand and the big red bow one of Santa’s elves had given to her in the other. As I carried her snoozing little form into the house, passing through the twinkling lights around the porch and jingling the bells on the front door wreath, this final lesson sunk in. Remember how it felt to be little like her, and celebrate her experience of Christmas, visit to Santa and all…and next year, remember lessons one through three as well.

Holly Ferris is a mother of two and writer for who specialize in LikeAbikes as well as other children’s toys and furniture.

If you enjoyed that one - check out this - 6 Fashion Tragedies You Children Shouldn't Have to Endure. Hilarious. 

Our "sample" photos with Santa are courtesy of Lindsay and her beautiful Children Andrew and Sarah.

Happy Holidays Ladies!

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