Activities

Getting ready to visit Santa

Is your child meeting Santa for the first time? Meeting this larger-than-life character can sometimes be intimidating for your little one. They could love him, just like they can break out in tears!

As an adult, you see Santa as a jolly, bearded, old man who granted all your wishes as a child. However, your child may see things differently at one, two or even three years old! A considerably large body in a big red suit and a long white beard are some characteristics that can be a little scary for kids.

Children younger than 3 ˝ years old tend to see Santa Claus as menacing. With time, he will become the legendary character that everyone adores and is eager to meet, so it is much easier to go see Santa Claus when your children are a little older. They will be more inclined to sit in his lap for a few minutes to take a picture or for an entire evening while unwrapping presents!

Preparing the first visit
  • The younger your child is, the slower you have to go with this new experience. Choose a less popular mall and go at hours during which stores are less crowded. This way, your child will have time to adapt to all the colorful new things surrounding them in Santa’s village.
  • Before going to see Santa, try imitating him at home by using a deep and joyful voice with your child. You can even lessen the shock by adding a white beard or red hat and dress up as Santa Claus.
  • Show pictures of Santa or watch a Christmas movie featuring Santa Claus with your child.
How to react to tears
  • The important thing is to acknowledge your child’s tears and fears. Their fears are real and uncontrollable at his age.
  • Tell them that you understand their reaction and that it is normal. Most of all, don’t tell your child to stop crying and act like a big kid. This is not a whim; your child is truly frightened. They are sitting on a strangers lap, which is understandably scary!
  • Reassure them and suggest sitting down with them on Santa’s lap, holding their hand or standing close by.
  • If your child is still not interested, don’t insist! You don’t want this temporary fear to become permanent because of too much pressure on your part.

Keep in mind that it is your own adult needs that you are satisfying by wanting your child to sit on Santa’s lap. However, if you absolutely want THE Christmas picture, just remind yourself that you will have many more years to give it a try.

Preparing Santa’s visit at home
  • There are no strict rules. However, tradition asks for this colorful character to be welcomed warmly!
  • Even if you do not have a chimney or Christmas tree, Santa always finds his way to good kids.
  • If you have a Christmas tree, you can decorate it with a special ornament made by your child especially for Santa.
  • Santa Claus doesn't expect to find milk and cookies in every home he visits; his doctor would not be too happy! However, he still likes to have a little snack. Remember, no beer for Santa Claus, only milk for his bones.
  • It can be a good idea to hang Christmas stockings for Santa Claus to leave chocolate, coloring books or other surprises.

Many children have tried waiting for Santa Claus, but it’s always in vain even if they promised themselves that they would stay up to see him. Santa has magic powers that make children go to sleep, which is why most of them never get to see him at work!

By Sonia Cosentino

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