It was my 5-year-old son’s idea. Kids in his preschool class had been talking about sitting on Santa’s lap and getting their picture taken. He’s usually slow to warm up to new adventures so I was surprised at how eager he was to do this. He mentioned it several days in a row before I finally relented and said with false enthusiasm, “Let’s go to the mall!”
We got there right when they opened and were 5th in line. My 3-year-old daughter said from the beginning that she had no intention of sitting on that man’s lap but I thought she might change her mind once she got up there. I was wrong. While my son sat proudly on Santa’s lap and posed with his best smile for the photographer, my daughter clung to my leg and asked when we’d be done.
We waited patiently for the picture to be printed and when it was finished, my son took one look at it and lost interest. The experience was over for him. My daughter, on the other hand, held onto the picture like it was treasure, running her fingers over it and insisting on carrying it.
When we got home I took the picture and put it in a frame.
“Where’s my picture?” she asked.
“You didn’t want to sit on Santa’s lap, remember?”
A few minutes later she asked again, “Where’s my picture with Santa?”
The next morning, she was still focused on the picture. She asked if we could go back to the mall so that she could get a picture too. “Do you want to sit on Santa’s lap?” I asked her. She shook her head and gave me a look that clearly said hell no.
At first, I thought this might be a good learning experience for her that sometimes you can’t get what you want unless you do what it takes to get it but then I realized that as much as she likes to act like her older brother, she’s still a toddler. You can try to teach a 3-year-old a lesson but chances are, you’re not teaching them what you think you’re teaching them.
So instead, I posed her on the couch in her Christmas jammies and angled her legs just right. I told her to give me her best smile for Santa and snapped the picture. I worked a little magic, not unlike the Elf on a Shelf, flying reindeer or the way Santa manages to deliver presents to every child in the whole world in one night. Poof! She magically appeared in the picture next to her brother.
Here’s to hoping that magic finds you this Christmas! Wishing you peace, love and joy this season and always.