Our soon to be three year old is scared of Santa. Terrified might actually be a more fitting description. The past two years, her Santa pictures have ended in genuine fear, screaming, and tears.
When we dare walk near Santa in the mall, she climbs up me or my husband and buries her head to avoid seeing him. I assumed that, as she got older, her fear would subside. In my head, Santa would be the lovable, jolly ol’ fella to her that he is to me. Well, friends? We have not yet reached that point. Not by a long shot.
She owns books about Christmas and Santa. I bought her Santa stickers. We talked to her about Santa’s kindness and point out that he brings her presents. Nada. She started crying a few days ago when I told her of our plans to go Christmas shopping. She cried at the very thought of seeing Santa. So I realized right then that we needed a different approach. My husband and I decided to still attempt a picture with Santa. We’ll go ahead and dress her all cute. We’ll take her to the mall and see how it goes. If she gets scared and refuses to see Santa? Then that’s all she wrote for this year. We aren’t going to force her to get a picture with him. Again. Scaring her half to death? Not worth the photo opp.
If the picture attempt goes poorly (and I’m 99% sure of that outcome), we plan to let her write a letter to Santa as an alternative. We may do a little art project as well and “mail” it to him. Mainly, we hope to reinforce that Santa is nice and not someone to fear. Hopefully that —and all of our positive talk about the big guy in red — makes a difference next year. This year may be too far gone to salvage…