A Toddler's Fear of Santa
Submitted by santababy
I don't think most people can really predict how a child will react to Santa.
When my son was about 10 months old, he met his first Santa. He was more curious than anything, but by that point he had met so many different types of people and been in so many different situations that some guy in a red suit didn't seem off to him. His second Christmas? He wasn't big on the candy canes Santa offered to lure him, but I did get a picture of him sitting with Santa and waving happily ... provided you didn't notice the ducking lump of mom behind them.
By age 3? I couldn't get him anywhere near anyone even looking like he could possibly be Santa. Not Santas with banjos, Santas with bells and buckets for the Salvation Army, not even fathers of friends that he knew in Santa suits for the hour. At this point (and I know, I should have tape-recorded it) he told me to tell Santa that "he didn't want anything, he had enough toys."
This year? He'll endure Santa, as long as he gets the toys.
Some kids lovelovelove Santa. What a great guy! He eats the cookies you bake, rewards good behavior, you sit on his lap and he's just this warm, fuzzy guy who cuddles you, listens to what you have to say and brings you stuff for no apparent reason.
As a child, I was absolutely terrified of Santa. And I was a pretty feisty little thing, nothing scared me. But Santa? He was big and loud and was always watching you, even in the bathroom. He got into our locked house and left stuff, even though we had no fireplace, just a furnace and forced air grilles. My mom left our empty stockings in our bedrooms so I was just supposed to sleep when some strange man came into my room and left me toys in the night. What if he took me away, or did something with my parents and left me all alone? Why was he leaving me toys? Why the red suit? OK, the toys we admittedly a plus but you couldn't convince me Santa wasn't expecting some sort of payback later.
I grew to like Santa. After all, he was a saint, was supposed to infect us with Christmas magic and the spirit of giving. We left shoes full of carrots for the reindeer, left cookies for Santa (but the dog would get them before Santa did, usually), wrote letters to the North Pole. My mom spilled the beans about Santa way too early, though. I was looking for the hamster I'd let escape and opened a closet and mom scuttled downstairs and hissed, "so now you know there's no Santa! Don't tell your brother!" I guess the Christmas gifts were in the closet but you know? A lot of kids would be crushed, but load was off my mind from that point on.
I can so understand the whole Santa fear. In one of the dance classes at my son's school, one of the littler girls had to quit because Santa was in their dance number and she couldn't stop shaking and crying even THINKING he would be there. I felt so horrible for her, in part because of my own experiences, but also because I know there actually are perverts out there playing Santa. Like many professions that entail dealing with children, Santa jobs attract pedophiles. Most of the Santas I have known are just guys who love kids in a normal way and get a kick out of being Santa. Some are retirees with white beards who need the extra money at the holidays and some are portly young guys who need same, but there is the occasional ONE. I knew one. He never did anything at work...no Santas were allowed to be alone with the children ... but his hands shook, his demeanor changed ... bad, bad vibes. But because he didn't do anything, obviously I couldn't say anything to anyone about it.
Granted, I would have to say the whole pervert Santa thing isn't probably as pervasive as TV shows parodying Santa in a frightening or lewd manner. The Shrek Christmas special with the Godzilla-like Santa eating the gingerbread man's cookie girlfriend. The "bad robot" Santa on Futurama (OK, that was funny, but I wouldn't let MY kid watch it!). And of course, Bad Santa. But to my knowledge, they never had anything like that when I was young. And everyone does seem to get over their Santa fear, sooner or later.
My mom is dating a guy who could be Santa. His beard is shorter, and he rides a Harley. My son is crazy about him. But who says Santa has to be toting toys and reindeer all year round, am I right? Anything that'll get him in that red velvet lap for a few more years, up to the time he's rolling his eyes at the whole ordeal and humoring his feeb mom, like I did.