We’ve all been there. The highly anticipated and sometimes equally dreaded visit to Santa Claus. We’ve dressed our kids in their Christmas best and called out to Jesus, “Please, please let sweet Johnny sit and smile perfectly on Santa’s lap so I can show my Instagram and Facebook friends how cute he is!” We’ve threatened (or is that just me?) our kids saying if they don’t sit on Santa’s lap and tell him very politely what they want for Christmas, he may not bring it. We all have our strategies – some better than others – but I’m here to share 5 tips for visiting Santa.
- Let it go. Let’s take a cue from Frozen and let it goooooo, let it goooooo! What I mean here is this: take any and all pressure off of this experience and just have fun. Anticipate that your child may hate Santa and that’s okay. Anticipate you may not get the perfect picture and guess what? Life goes on and Santa will still show up on Christmas Eve and all is still well in the world. As my friend recently said to me, “It’s probably a good thing Zoey doesn’t like to sit on a fat stranger’s lap.” Touché. Relax and enjoy the experience no matter how your child acts. Either way, you know you are creating memories and that is what counts.
- Proactively communicate. Tell your child in advance what to expect, even if they are only 1 year old. Kids understand more than we can even imagine. Start telling them about visiting Santa. About why we do it. About taking the picture. About where this is all going down. About why kids gather to see him before Christmas. The more we share with them, the more aware they will be, which can help with any potential meltdowns.
- Don’t force it. If your kid does not want to sit on his lap, don’t make him or her. Offer to sit on Santa’s lap together or to just stand next to Santa instead. Our kiddos generally don’t respond well when we force them to do anything, so why would visiting Santa be any different?
- Make it a shared experience. If your child is anything like mine, they love play dates and being with other kids. Thus, one option for making visiting Santa a success is to do it with another mom and child. If they have a friend with them, they may not be as scared and they may have more fun. Or, bring their favorite lovey along and ensure teddy/puppy/baby/blanket is fully involved with your child. If your child feels safer and can share the experience, you may just get the cutest Instagram photo ever.
- Bring Santa a present. This one sounds a bit strange but making the experience a giving experience, thanking Santa for all of his hard work and turning the tables a bit is a great approach to consider. It turns the attention away from Santa’s lap and getting a good Facebook picture to a moment of gratitude. Santa works hard, is so generous and loves so well, why not give the guy some recognition?!