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#1 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 12:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Recently I've been thinking about the whole santa/easter bunny pic thing. It seems really wrong to me to put your child on a strangers lap, especially if they are reluctant or unwilling to do so.

Does anyone here have memories of being forced to sit on santa's lap? Maybe it isn't really a big deal in the big scheme of things? I don't remember ever visiting santa, even though there are pictures of me with him (and I don't look unhappy).

I'm interested in hearing other's thoughts.
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#2 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 01:17 AM
 
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IMO it's not a big deal in and of itself. However, if a parent is forcing a child to do something that he/she is afraid or reluctant to do (that isn't necessary, such as in this situation) it can indicate that there is a larger belief held by the parent/caregiver that the child's feelings are not important.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I know/have seen parents make their kids do all sorts of things that fit into the category of unnecessary w/out acknowledging that the child is a human being and should have their feelings taken into consideration. Teary pics w/strangers dressed up in costumes is just one of the ways to convey the larger attitude.

Does that make sense? I hope so bc I am tired.

BTW, I have never forced my kids to take pics w/ a holiday character. I feel that if I were to do so the damaging message they would get about the validity of their feelings would last much longer than a pic. (And disclaimer: this is my general opinion and of course there are exceptions to every rule and variations in circumstances).

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#3 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 07:46 AM
 
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I remember being 11 and having to sit on Santa's lap because my mom wanted a picture. It was humiliating and the santa creeped me out. He told me I could only have a large candy cane if I kissed him on the cheek. So I left without a candy cane. I don't have any unpleasant memories of santa before that one time, though.

Although this is a little different, I have terrible memories of my mom making me get my picture taken made up as a clown at the circus every year when I was little. I really hated that and you can tell through the makeup that I'm crying in all the pictures.

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#4 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 07:50 AM
 
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I remember going when I was little, and I always had a great time.

I took AJ this year for his first Christmas, and he loooved it. The Santa at our local m, all is a "real" santa..A real beard, and very friendly. I went when they weren't too busy, and took AJ up to see him. Santa talked to him for a few minutes, and then I handed him over. Here's a picture: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?...&id=1447797441

Now, if AJ would have at any time showed any fear or didn't WANT to be around Santa I would never force him. If this year we go, and he doesn't want to do it, we'll leave.

I didn't take him to the Easter bunny, because that thing at our mall is creepy and gives me chills. So we don't do that one..lol
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#5 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 12:25 PM
 
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Ds1 went to sit with Santa for his first Christmas and did really well, his second Christmas he wanted nothing to do with Santa so we didn't make him. We've fallen out of the practice of going to see/sit with Santa since then. The pictures are VERY overpriced, IMO.

We did the Easter Bunny for ds1's first Easter (he was born in Feb, so he was too small to object to anything) but after that we didn't take him anymore. Ds2 hasn't been to see either Santa or the Easter Bunny, but I don't think he'd like them much.

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#6 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 01:00 PM
 
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There is ONE photo of me on a mall Santa's lap (one year my grandfather dressed up and I realized it was him so I had no issues). Something about Santa creeped me out and I refused to do it ever again. Apparently, I'm quoted as saying, "I'm not sitting on that dirty old man's lap."

My mother offered it as a suggestion for several years but never forced it. After a few years of refusing she stopped asking and figured if I wanted to do it *I* would bring it up.

The Easter bunny I don't think I had a problem...there are a couple of photos of that.


If you're FORCING it then there's a problem. It's such an unnecessary thing to do. You can still have Christmas without that photo. (My FIL tried to convince me otherwise)

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#7 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 01:02 PM
 
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I would do it if the kids wanted to but I would never force kids to sit there for a picture. Making someone sit on someone else's lap is a bad idea.

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#8 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 01:42 PM
 
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DS loves it, so he visits Santa every year. I don't buy the pictures, since neither of us cares about that part -- he just likes to visit him and talk with him, and our Santa is the same awesome guy every year and takes his time talking with the kids.

Last year was the first year I brought DD with us when we visited, and she was excited the whole time in line but then got a little nervous when we approached him, so she didn't sit with him but she waved while I held her.

I don't think it's a particularly odd tradition because there's so much history and context behind it -- it's normal in my mind because it's always been that way, you know? But yeah, if it hadn't been a tradition for so long and someone tried to start a "Hey, let's put kids on this guy's lap and take pictures" movement, I'm sure that wouldn't go over too well.

That said, I agree that no child should be forced to sit with a holiday character if they're afraid or reluctant in any way -- it's absurd to me that it's more important for some parents to get that (crazily overpriced) photo than to respect their child's feelings.

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#9 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 01:42 PM
 
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We do the Santa pictures most years (a couple of times, they've gotten lost in the shuffle). I'd never heard of the Easter Bunny pics until I came here. I'm guessing it hasn't caught on in Canada.

If my kids really didn't want to do it, I wouldn't do it. The only one I've ever put any pressure on is ds1, and it wasn't like "you have to do this". It was more "hey - I know you're getting way too old for this, but I'd like to have one pic of all four of you - do you mind?". So, last year, he sat beside Santa, with dd2 on his (ds1's) lap, while dd1 and ds2 sat on Santa. It's an amzing pic! DS1 said he was glad he did it, because it turned out so well. I'd never force a crying child to do it or anything like that, but my kids enjoy it.

We have one pic of me and my sister on Santa's knee, and my sister is crying. But, apparently, she wanted to sit on Santa's knee, because I was doing it, and when mom told her she didn't have to, she freaked out. So, she's on Santa's knee, and crying...but she'd have been crying if she hadn't been allowed to do it, too. Mom doesn't go around showing people the "cue" picture of her traumatized dd, though. (It's kind of unfortunate, as she really wanted to be there with me, and it's otherwise a really great photo - the Santa pics when I was little were pretty good quality.)

I really don't get the whole "make the kid sit on Santa's lap, then laugh at them when they cry" thing. It weirds me out.

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#10 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 02:11 PM
 
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#11 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 02:26 PM
 
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Actually, I have a good rant about this...... here goes.

All year long you watch out for strangers paying too much attention to your child or strangers touching your child and wham, bam, Xmas comes and you drop your kid on a stranger's lap! A male stranger's lap. Are you freaking kidding me? And he talks to and cuddles your child... who may be told any other time of the year "not talk to strangers". Talk about your mixed messages!.

And the folks who take crying child Santa picture? There's a special spot in Hades for them.. I'm sure of it.
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#12 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 02:34 PM
 
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I really don't get the appeal of a picture sitting on someone's lap. We just do pictures of my kids standing in front of the tree or something.

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#13 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 02:35 PM
 
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I personally think the picture of DH crying in Santa lap is cute.

But only because I know the story behind it. Santa was his papa and DH was crying because his brother had just taken his candy cane from him.

If they are crying because they are genuinely scared, thats just cruel

as for us... my kids dont even go see santa (and easter bunny? I have NEVER heard of going to see the easter bunny!)

Not because its against our beliefs or anything... we celebrate Christmas. I just see no point. If DS wants to send him a letter, thats cool... I encourage that... but as was already said, I dont want to go force my kids to sit in some strangers lap and take overpriced pictures of them. Theres no point to it.

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#14 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 05:06 PM
 
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The Santa (real beard, seriously looks like he could be the 'real' deal) at our local mall sits on a bench. Most kids end up sitting next to him. It makes the majority of kids much happier.

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#15 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 05:14 PM
 
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DS cries if his grandparents try to hold him, so Santa was definitely OUT this past year.

I don't remember getting pictures with Santa, my parents may have done it once or twice if we wanted to but it wasn't a yearly thing & we didn't do Easter Bunny pictures at all. I don't really see any reason to do it, doesn't interest me, and I'm not even sure if we'll do the whole Santa/Easter Bunny thing or just stick to reality.

I agree with the pp who said that continually forcing your child to do something they don't want to/are scared to do is more of a larger issue...

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#16 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 05:17 PM
 
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My guys love it, so it isn't a huge issue. If they didn't, then I wouldn't force the issue.

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#17 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 05:19 PM
 
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I would never force a child to sit on Santa's lap, but I see no problem if they want to do it. I don't immediately think "potential molester" when I see a mall Santa, and I'm right there while my kid is on his lap. My sister is like this, every year she tells me not to get my kids' photos taken on Santa's lap because "you never know" but I really think that's just silly.
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#18 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 05:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by vbactivist View Post
Recently I've been thinking about the whole santa/easter bunny pic thing. It seems really wrong to me to put your child on a strangers lap, especially if they are reluctant or unwilling to do so.

Does anyone here have memories of being forced to sit on santa's lap? Maybe it isn't really a big deal in the big scheme of things? I don't remember ever visiting santa, even though there are pictures of me with him (and I don't look unhappy).

I'm interested in hearing other's thoughts.
I remember a similar thread on here once. Someone pointed out that you shouldn't make a child hug/kiss a family member if they don't want to, and stuff like that. I also agree that if a child in unwilling or reluctant than you shouldn't make them do it. It was something about learning to tolerate inappropriate behavior from others. Eh, I think this was from Protecting the Gift, and trusting your instincts, especially as a child? I'll stop now, I'm getting confusing!

I'm personally not too big on the Santa/Easter bunny pictures. ETA: when I was a child I didn't like it, I was shy and reserved and being told to sit on some strangers lap wasn't cool with me, but I still did it but eventually I just put my foot and said no, or threw a fit!
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#19 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 06:03 PM
 
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Actually, I have a good rant about this...... here goes.

All year long you watch out for strangers paying too much attention to your child or strangers touching your child and wham, bam, Xmas comes and you drop your kid on a stranger's lap! A male stranger's lap. Are you freaking kidding me? And he talks to and cuddles your child... who may be told any other time of the year "not talk to strangers". Talk about your mixed messages!.
Cuddles your child? Seriously? That sounds really strange. I've never seen a mall Santa cuddle a kid.

None of this applies to us. I don't tell my children not to talk to strangers. Since I'm frequently telling them to talk to strangers (wait staff, cashiers, mail carriers, counter people of various kinds, etc.), that would just be confusing.

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#20 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 06:07 PM
 
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None of this applies to us. I don't tell my children not to talk to strangers. Since I'm frequently telling them to talk to strangers (wait staff, cashiers, mail carriers, counter people of various kinds, etc.), that would just be confusing.
I never told my kids not to talk to strangers either but ... I know a lot of parents who do say this to their kids quite often. I'm with you... I had my 5 year olds ordering their own junior meals at the mall.
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#21 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 06:08 PM
 
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Cuddles your child? Seriously? That sounds really strange. I've never seen a mall Santa cuddle a kid.

None of this applies to us. I don't tell my children not to talk to strangers. Since I'm frequently telling them to talk to strangers (wait staff, cashiers, mail carriers, counter people of various kinds, etc.), that would just be confusing.
Yeah, I have to say the conversations I have with my kids about safety aren't just "don't talk to strangers." We talk about inappropriate touching, feeling uncomfortable, personal information, private body areas, etc. Willingly sitting with a well-known and beloved holiday character while I and a whole mall full of other people are staring directly at them doesn't fall into the "stranger danger" category for my kids -- they're easily able to separate that situation from one that may arise with the creepy guy down the block or whatever.

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#22 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 06:31 PM
 
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We have pictures of me crying on Santa's lap (or with a red face that makes it seem that I'd recently been crying) and I don't remember the actual events at all. We also have tons of pics of me crying during family pictures (that we take every year, to this day, at Christmas with my father's family, and we were with our own parents and siblings). I DO remember crying during those and being upset at being made to take the pictures.

Now, I'm SO glad we have them. It is such a great progression of seeing me and my sisters growing up (and eventually, when my parents divorced, seeing my mother out and my step-mother in).

My boys take pictures with Santa. There have been years that they cried (ds1 cried the year that he was 2, ds2 cried last year), but it is literally so fast that they barely know what hit them afterwards. I always tell the photographer that they might cry and that's ok, don't waste time trying to make them happy just take the pic and be done. They are in and out of the lap in under a minute (well, not ds1 anymore, he sits and tells Santa what he wants now).

It isn't that I don't care about their feelings. I just know how I feel about all those pics of me now, and being glad that I have them, I guess I'm hoping my boys will feel the same way when they're adults. Of course, I may be breeding some mass Christmas hatred too. We'll see, I guess.

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#23 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 06:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would never force a child to sit on Santa's lap, but I see no problem if they want to do it. I don't immediately think "potential molester" when I see a mall Santa, and I'm right there while my kid is on his lap. My sister is like this, every year she tells me not to get my kids' photos taken on Santa's lap because "you never know" but I really think that's just silly.

I doubt most mall santa's are pedophiles, too. I am referring more to people who's kids are obviously not interested in it, yet the parents force them to sit on the guy's lap. Or laugh when the child is shrieking to get off. I don't think it's likely the child is going to be molested, just that their feelings are being completely disregarded by the people they should be able to trust. But then I wondered, maybe once a year being forced to do that isn't really a big deal?
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#24 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 07:15 PM
 
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I haven't read all the replies, but:
a) I remember being terrified of Santa. I still really, really dislike Santa, Easter Bunny, etc. Clowns, to me, are some of the creepiest things on earth.

b) I think pictures with Santa-- the whole idea-- is just bizarre. We celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, but even if we did not, there's no way I would pursue or desire a picture of my child sitting on the lap of a stranger in a costume.

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#25 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 07:19 PM
 
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I doubt most mall santa's are pedophiles, too.
I never said they were. However, they are older men, in costume, that you do not know personally, ie; strangers.
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#26 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 07:30 PM
 
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We won't be doing these types of holiday pictures.
We celebrate those holidays, but without mascots like santa and the easter bunny.

To each their own, but if the child is not happy about it, I think parents shouldn't force it. I truly hate seeing those holiday pictures with the crying kid on it. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of having them meet the mascot anyways.

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#27 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 10:19 PM
 
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Actually, I have a good rant about this...... here goes.

All year long you watch out for strangers paying too much attention to your child or strangers touching your child and wham, bam, Xmas comes and you drop your kid on a stranger's lap! A male stranger's lap. Are you freaking kidding me? And he talks to and cuddles your child... who may be told any other time of the year "not talk to strangers". Talk about your mixed messages!.

And the folks who take crying child Santa picture? There's a special spot in Hades for them.. I'm sure of it.
Have you actually ever stopped to watch what happens? Because you act like Santa takes your child into a private room and sweet talks and tickles them with no one watching. I think you are letting your imagination go wild.

There are about a gazillion people watching. Most parents in line are watching, usually with their hand on their hip, because they are in a hurry because their kids are ready to lose it, because guess what, kids have no patience. Santa barely acknowledges the kid. It is just a quick hello and what do you want. But it is fast because they try and get the picture fast because kids dont have any patience. They take the pic no matter what your kid does because they are required to try and sell you something. I have never ever seen an inapporpriate Santa or anyone forcing their kids on his lap. In fact, half the kids I see sit on the bench or stand or on the floor.
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#28 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 10:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Have you actually ever stopped to watch what happens? Because you act like Santa takes your child into a private room and sweet talks and tickles them with no one watching. I think you are letting your imagination go wild.

There are about a gazillion people watching. Most parents in line are watching, usually with their hand on their hip, because they are in a hurry because their kids are ready to lose it, because guess what, kids have no patience. Santa barely acknowledges the kid. It is just a quick hello and what do you want. But it is fast because they try and get the picture fast because kids dont have any patience. They take the pic no matter what your kid does because they are required to try and sell you something. I have never ever seen an inapporpriate Santa or anyone forcing their kids on his lap. In fact, half the kids I see sit on the bench or stand or on the floor.
'


what started my original thread was an entire website devoted to pictures of kids crying on santa's lap - so it does happen, unfortunately. I think a lot of people think it's cute, or funny or soemthing that their kids are terrified.
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#29 of 38 Old 06-30-2010, 11:17 PM
 
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'


what started my original thread was an entire website devoted to pictures of kids crying on santa's lap - so it does happen, unfortunately. I think a lot of people think it's cute, or funny or soemthing that their kids are terrified.
Obviously there are weinie butts out there, but I have only seen one weinie butt situation in person.

I think just because a child is crying doesn't mean they are being forced though. I have seen people walk because their kid changed his mind. And mainly everyone is sympathetic and trying to work it out.

DS, 3 cries. He desperately wants to sit there and talk to Santa and all that, but he cries because it is overwhelming when he gets up there and he has a hard time processing and dealing with it. He is a high stress child. Anyhoo, how I would love to say oh, you are crying we are done, adios. But I cant. I have to take the picture and make sure I have a pic because DS would be livid and be screaming about it for a week if he didnt do the whole experience from beg to end.

He also loves to look at all the Santa pics. The first year he cried and that is his fav. He says, happily oh look at that baby, that baby is sad. But he thinks it is the cutest saddest baby and he loves it. And I wont even get into the EB experience.
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My dd cried one year, not because she didn't want to see Santa because she desperately did, but because she was angry about how long she had to wait in line. I guess she looked angry more than sad in the picture. Still, someone who saw the picture might not have been able to tell how much she wanted to see him and how disappointed she would have been if we'd left without seeing him.
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