I can see why you'd make the effort to go out to see Santa, but I don't see why it's so important that you'd let your kid get all upset over it. I mean, who is this for? It obviously can't be for your kid's benefit if their happiness is secondary to getting the picture taken. If it's for you, why do you want it that badly? Why would you want a picture of your kid when he or she is upset?
Once I became a parent, I totally went against all this. When we took Logan to see Santa Claus, he cried, and I punched him in the face (while wearing brass knuckles) until he finally relented and sat on Santa's lap.
Okay, hold your calls to C.P.S. I'm kidding. Logan was excited to see Santa, and he talked old St. Nick's ear off. It wasn't even an issue. But man, I had those brass knuckles ready.
Put down the phone. In all seriousness, the wifey and I went in with a game plan. We figured that if he started to cry or panic, then it just wasn't worth it, and we wouldn't make him. After all, so many everyday things become major dramatic tragedies when you're with a toddler as it is. Why would you want to add another incident to the things that are leading up to your inevitable heart attack?
This worked out nicely when he was two, and he was even more eager when he was three.
At my local comic book store, there was a photo opportunity with Spider-Man and The Black Cat around Christmas time. When we talked to Logan about it, he was pretty excited. However, when we got there, he wanted nothing to do with them. The two superheroes were really awesome and even got on their knees to talk to him, but he just wasn't having it.
Enter: the brass knuckles.
Come on now. Put the phone away. Put it on the other side of the room. Just stop.
Luckily, there wasn't a huge crowd, so I went for a walk with him. Ultimately, we decided that if he wasn't going to get his picture taken with Spidey and his femme fatale sidekick, then the two of us would pose for one. Still, we weren't in a hurry. When we came back in the store, Logan started to warm up to the two of them - especially The Black Cat. Finally, it was time to make a decision, and we told Logan that we were going to get our picture taken, and he could join us or not. As you can tell from the photo above, he chose to join in with us.
Would it have been a bummer if we didn't get our son in the picture with us? Yes. Would it have been the end of the world? No.
I've spoken with some parents who told me about how they did it with their kids. They said that they were determined to have their kids pose with Santa no matter how much they cried. If I live to be a billion, I will never understand this.
And please, I'm not trying to say that if you do this that you're some kind of horrible, abusive parent. (Although I wouldn't be surprised if I get at least one comment where somebody accuses me of saying this - despite this disclaimer. My posts seem to attract strawmen like crap draws flies.) I'm just saying that I can't even begin to approach your thought process. It's not like we're talking about vaccinations here - it's a frikken' picture with Santa. Even if your kids don't want to do it one year, they will probably be more receptive to it the following year. Kids grow fast, sure, but they are kids for more than a year.
Or is there some sort of college requirement where you need to submit a photo of yourself when you were two years old sitting on Santa's lap, and I'm just not aware of it?