Saturday, December 20, 2014

Visiting Santa

We paid too much for this to give away
the whole picture for free on the internet.
A couple weeks ago we took our son to the mall to meet Santa—which is to say, we wanted to have a photo with the man in the red suit and beard for this, his first Christmas where he's not less than a week old. Luckily my wife found one could make a reservation and so we only had to wait around ten minutes.

When we handed him to the assistant (not an elf) to be taken up to Santa and the bench (operating as the sleigh in the pictures) he wasn't upset. When he was set in Santa's lap, he didn't cry (a la Randy's reaction in A Christmas Story); he also didn't smile. His expression was more one of mild confusion. The combined efforts of both of us and the photographer and assistant couldn't bring a smile, and so the "best" photo of the shots taken was not optimal cuteness but at least it didn't have tears streaming down his face.

Could have been far worse.

Of course, with the amount they charged perhaps his expression was incredulity that his parents could consider the venture to be a prudent use of funds. (It's quite a racket...)


He is young enough that we do not yet have to decide whether to impart the Santa Claus story when explaining from where the gifts come. However, even if we never have him "believe" we clearly will have to convey the mythology if for no other reason than so he will have some basis for understanding a significant amount of popular culture come December.

I don't know that I have an overwhelming need to indoctrinate him into the cult of the holiday, but certainly I want him to have fond associations with the season. He needs a basis for relating to Ralphie when eventually he's old enough to watch the movie TBS shows on a loop starting Christmas Eve—that I expect will continue to be the case for years to come, and we will continue to have it on as our holiday background, so he will see it numerous times before he really probably should. As his parents we will strive to keep from spoiling him, but as the only baby in the family I have to suspect we won't be able to combat all the family is going to shower upon him. And some of that almost certainly will be equivalent of the "pink nightmare" bunny suit that will make him grasp getting a lot of gifts is not necessarily all it's cracked up to be, and wanting that one thing is often the best.

(Not that he'll be getting a BB gun, but let's not digress.)

If nothing else, he will hear plenty of Christmas music—and it's not so much that we will play a ton of it at home (although we will play some); one has a hard time avoiding it this time of year if one goes into any shop or restaurant… or gas station… or pass a car with its windows down. The exposure is unavoidable unless one does not leave the house.

However, there is importance in having the carols and songs be played for him. Certainly it builds a certain connection that as an adult will (on some level) elicit pleasant memories, but he'll need a solid familiarity to operate as the foundation for appreciating all the parodies that the saturation inevitably inspires.

Gotta prepare him for the world as best we can.


Perhaps the best reason to get one's child to believe in Santa is to avoid your kid to be that one who spoils it for the other children at school. It's easier than burdening him/her with the responsibility of not ruining it for those whose parents chose to go that route.

And by that I mean: Of course Santa is real, kids. Merry Christmas! Ho-ho-ho!

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