Jolly, Friendly, Giving – all words that describe… Santa Claus. However most 2 year olds seeing Santa in the flesh would describe him in one word… SCARY! My son Kai is no exception.

He does however love the ‘idea’ of Santa. When he sees a photo or figurine of Santa Claus, he excitedly yells, ‘SANTA!’

Last Saturday our local garden center had live reindeer and photos with Santa & Mrs. Claus – sounds like a nice little outing. As we pile into the car I’m thinking about how  excited I am to see the elated look on little Kai’s face when he sees Santa in real life.

After a short drive we arrived – ready for a jolly time! Walking through the garden centre I sounded a bit like this, ‘Kai you’re going to meet Santa! Yay!! It will be so much fun! ‘ I’m pumped up for the big event! But everything was about to change! As soon as Kai makes eye contact with jolly Old St. Nick an anxious feeling overtakes his small body. He quickly grabs my leg and tries to climb up into my arms like a baby koala. As we walk closer Kai’s grip tightens and he starts to whine, ‘No! No Santa! No SANTA!!’ The exact opposite reaction that he gave to the Santa figurines!

Luckily Kai’s Grandma stepped into action! She bent over and whispered in Santa’s ear the two things Kai loves – hockey and Thomas the Train. Santa started talking to Kai about his two passions and with a little guidance he made his way closer to the man with the white beard and red suit for a memory moment – his 2014 photo with Santa!



When visiting Santa with your toddler prepping them by saying, ‘We are going to meet Santa. YAY!’ may not be enough encouragement to have them approach Santa. I suggest that as your toddler’s turn with Santa approaches whisper in his ear one or two things that your child loves. This commonality may be just what they need to walk towards Santa and feel comfortable getting a photo, even if they are only standing beside Jolly Old St. Nick!