The Christmas season is a time for traditions. Whether it's exchanging Christmas presents, drinking eggnog or engaging in the Elf of the Shelf mind games, many of the season’s best memories come from passing down experiences to a younger generation.
One of the many traditions that I've grown up with is getting a yearly picture with Santa Claus. My husband, whom I have been with for several years, has also enjoyed this tradition getting Santa pictures every year with his family at the mall. A few years after we got married, our daughter was born making it time to pass on the holiday traditions to the next generation. Last year was her first Christmas picture with Santa and we were surprised with how well she did at only 7 months old. Not a single tear, more than content to hang out on Santa’s lap for a few pics. However, this year….she wasn’t so keen on the idea. In a complete reversal, she and Santa were both boohooing in the picture we got- it’s hysterical! We’ve framed it and hung it prominently among the Christmas décor, with promises of showing it to her first boyfriend someday.
As a photographer, I’ve captured so many pictures with Santa and learned rather quickly that kids either love Santa or they are completely terrified (there’s not much of an in-between). With kids, it really is more about the memory that the pictures capture than it is about a perfect smiling picture on Santa’s lap. This has become even more apparent to me as I have gone through the tradition with my own little one. Will we continue to get those yearly pictures with Santa? Absolutely. Those will be the funny little memories that we look back on and cherish when she’s grown.
I think that, during this time of year, that is the consensus among parents when it comes to Santa pictures. Capture the memory, because the time for these precious little pictures is so short. I know someday Santa won’t seem nearly so scary or foreign, inciting the reaction we got this year, but it’s a moment worth remembering. Even if they cry, the picture is still worth taking, worth saving, and worth the effort to preserve...because they’re only little for so long.