Friday, 25 November 2011

The Santa Photo

As a kid I hated Santa. My mum loves reminding me that any time my brother and I caught sight of him we would run howling in the other direction. "I don't like his beard!" I was once heard to yell (funny, since my Dad always had a beard..) We didn't seem any worse off for not having a belief in the fat man in the red suit. We knew what the real meaning of Christmas was and my Mum said it was a relief not to have to make up stuff about who Santa was and what he supposedly did.

When I started having my own children I was sure I'd follow the same pattern, and to some extent I have. My kids are in no doubt that the reason we celebrate Christmas is because Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem, that he came to earth as a human in order to save the world.

But I don't actually mind if they enjoy a little of the Santa thing as well. They know he isn't the one buying their presents. There have been too many agonising shopping trips with me screeching: "Avert your eyes!!" as I cram certain items in to the back of the stroller, trying not get irritated (it is supposed to be the season of good cheer after all!) while ignoring the shining eyes, peeking, whispering and snorts of excitement!

For the past eight years the shopping centre Santa photo has caused me, if not always the kids, great joy. It is a precious moment in time when, at around the start of December every year I get an official SNAP of what the kids look like, how big they are, how many there are, who has teeth, who's lost teeth..

Last year's photo - Archie arrived too late!


Occasionally there are moments of confusion:
Who is Santa again Mum? He's a nice man who likes rewarding kids at Christmas time.
Why does he have a big white beard? To keep his face warm in winter.
What about in summer time?
He probably gets it trimmed.
How does he get all around the world in one night? Um, there are reindeers, and um, possibly a motorised sleigh...
How come he looks different in different shopping centres? The real Santa can't be everywhere at once so he has trained helpers who stand in for him..
Why do we have to get our photo with him every year? Well, because I want to compare you with last year's photo, and it's a Christmas tradition. And maybe Mum sort of wishes that just once when she was little, she hadn't run away every time...
  


2011 Santa photo with all four children.
  
Lft: Our first Santa shot with baby Jesse (and my 2 nieces) in 2003;
Rt: Our third Santa shot with Jesse and Eleanore in 2005 (I made it into this one!). 


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