Story by Pamela Price
Note: This story originally appeared in the November 2010 edition of Leon Springs Community News.
• Pick an off-peak time. For mall or store visits, early evening on a weeknight is good, but afternoons early in the week are typically best if you can swing it.
• Fuel up. Hungry kids are whiny. Whiny hungry kids waiting in a line are a form of torture-for them and you.
• Rest up. Early morning or post-nap visits are best because fatigue can beget whiny, too.
• Plan carefully. Bring an extra pair of hands to help wrangle people and packages. Tote ample snacks, water and diapers. If tears happen, and they very likely will fall from babies and toddlers who are naturally prone to fearing strangers, remember that you can try again another day-or another year.
• Be realistic. Even older children can be leery of being thrust into the arms of a new person. (We actively encourage them to be wary of “stranger danger” the rest of the year, remember?) Try giving an older, shy child something to do-such as handing off her list of most-wanted items-can help spark a conversation with St. Nick. Talking things up in advance can help, too.
• Respect Santa. The rosy-cheeked fella works hard all year and then spends a few weeks in a perpetual loop of photo shoots followed by some serious globetrotting and cookie noshing. A little holiday cheer and a lot of good manners toward him and the elves go a long way to keeping him jolly. Besides, he’s got that list to check, right? No one wants to find coal in their stocking, not even us grown-ups.