Love him or hate him, Santa is the man and comes around once a year.  In one single night he flies around the world and delivers presents to all the good little girls and boys.  What’s not to love, the guy brings you whatever you circled in The Sears Christmas Wish Book want (if you are a spoiled rotten child like I am).

According to my mom and aunts, I’m the worst….when it comes to forcing my child to sit on Santa’s lap.  Ok, I kind of have to agree with them on this subject matter.   Seriously, I don’t know what it is, but I can’t resist a screaming, crying picture of my child with Santa.  I know I really shouldn’t laugh, even as I’m writing this, but I just can’t help it!

Harvey joined our family on December 11, 2011 on my husband’s impulse buy.  We were not prepared for a puppy at all so we had to make an emergency Petsmart run for all things puppy.  When we showed up at Petsmart, Santa was there.  I quickly bought Harvey a sweater and we got a picture.  I think this may be where my obsession with getting my kids (yes I refer to Harvey as my kid) pictures with Santa began.

Erin’s first experience with Santa happened when she was about 6 months old.  She had just started sitting on her own and smiling and laughing at the silliest little things.  At this age Erin didn’t really show any signs of fear towards anything, so I figured what the heck, let’s go see Santa.  To my surprise it worked out great; she was all smiles.

I assumed that since our first year with Santa was such a success that her second year of would go just as smoothly.  Boy was I wrong.  I decided to book a trip to Santa with a professional photographer.  The photographer’s Santa seemed more legit than the mall Santa and it included the whole Santa experience with cookies & milk, along with a story read by Mrs. Claus.

We just happened to be at the local mall the day before picking up some tights for Erin, when I decided to casually drop in on Santa to warm her up for the next day.  My cousin Dylan was with us and I figured Erin would be happy to sit on Santa’s Lap with her big cousin.  She was 18 months old at the time and couldn’t really tell me if she wanted to or not, so I figured we’d give it a go.  The outcome, in my opinion, CLASSIC!

I had already pre-paid for the professional photographer’s Santa experience, so despite the epic fail at the mall, I decided to take Erin to see Santa again the very next day.  I mean she had such an adorable outfit for it, I couldn’t let it go to waste.

We arrived and she was absolutely terrified of the whole “sit on Santa’s lap”.  She was actually shaking so I felt awful.  I had already gotten the classic ‘cry on Santa’s lap’ photo, maybe we could do something where Erin wouldn’t be so terrified.  The photographer agreed and we were able to get an adorable, but not as funny, picture of Erin with Santa.

Every Christmas Eve, a family member dresses up as Santa at my Aunt’s house. My cousins and I all sit on his lap and get a gift from him.  With Erin’s recently-developed fear for Santa, we had my brother dress up as Santa, assuming maybe she wouldn’t be as scared.  Whoopsie, my brother in a Santa suit was even more horrific than the mall Santa!

Luckily for Erin, Santa only comes once a year.  We did go again to the same professional photographer’s Santa experience so she wouldn’t be as scared.  I figured if she sat on Mrs. Claus’ lap maybe we could get a smiling picture. She seemed fine and then……….

Poor Erin, some of you are probably thinking along the lines of my mom and aunts now, that I’m the worst.  I still have more crying Santa pictures to show you and I am in total agreement with them, I am a complete asshole parent.

A few weeks had passed since the above photo and Christmas Eve came around again.

My Dad, or as Erin calls him, “Pa”, is her absolute best friend.  My Dad is always laughing and has a very distinct laugh, so we didn’t really think Erin would be scared if he dressed up as Santa. It was so obvious my Dad was Santa.  My nephew, who is the same age as Erin, sat on Santa’s lap first and figured out that Santa was indeed my Dad.  My nephew was having a great time with Santa, chatting it up, pulling on his beard and getting his HESS truck.  I was hopeful for a similar reaction from Erin.  Nope, nada.  She wasn’t having it at all.  Erin was still completely and totally terrified of Santa, therefore an executive decision was made to never make her sit on Santa’s lap again.

Fast forward to two weeks ago and Erin’s constant questions about Santa.  She wants to know specific details of when he comes, how will he know what presents to bring and if he goes into her bedroom or not.  We told her she could write a letter to Santa to tell him what she wants.  She loved the idea and told me to write down her list and as she barked out her demands.

I swear I had no intentions of taking her to see Santa ever again.  But, Erin told us she wanted to go see Santa to tell him what she wanted for Christmas this year.  I told her she didn’t have to, that we wrote him a letter and he already knows what she wants.  She insisted.  We planned out an outfit and she was ready to go tell him!

The big moment was upon us. Erin jumped into my arms the moment she saw Santa but didn’t object as I walked her over to him.  As soon as she sat down on his lap the tears started flowing, but they weren’t that bad.  All of a sudden she started talking to him and was shaking her head “yes” a lot.  She was able to tell Santa that she wanted “slime” for Christmas. He chuckled and so did we.

Looking back at the terror in my daughters eyes I kind of regret making her sit on Santa’s Lap.  However, when she’s 16, she’s really going appreciate these pictures!

Tis the season to be Jolly!