Beck Vass explains why she doesn't have a single photo of her kids with Santa.
There is so much about Christmas that is at odds with the rest of the year.
We spend so much time hoping our children know what to do if a dodgy stranger approaches them. And then we practically throw them at one at the end of the year.
We had about seven incidents of a man approaching children in nearby suburbs in Tauranga last year, offering them rides.
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It's hard speaking to your kids about stranger danger and that kind of stuff without leaving them terrified.
But then at Christmas we throw our kids at a funny looking old man and expect them to sit there to happily pose for a photo.
And he is creepy and suspicious much of the time, disguised with his (usually) fake beard and extras.
I don't have one photo of my kids with Santa. I get the guilts every year when friends post pictures of their kids with Santa. Some of them even post compositions of the last few years' worth of Santa pics, from screaming babies to toddlers and beyond - an annual time capsule showing how much their kids have grown, always dressed in nice Christmas-themed outfits.
I feel guilty about it but not enough to face the horror of a mall with three children at this time of year.
But it is a strange thing to do really when you think about it.
And heaps of kids cry, and it's kind of funny but also kind of awful.
Our girl was two when she had to go and get a present from the Santa at a kindy Christmas party. She was meant to sit on his lap for a photo and then take his present.
We tried to get a picture. One of the many "firsts" of childhood. But she was screaming and crying.
She ran back to us, terrified. She was completely comfortable going back to him when she knew he had a present for her, of course. But she took it in what might be described as a "snatch and bolt" - from a distance, much like one would feed an animal they are scared might bite them.
I'll take your gift but don't touch me. And fair enough too!
We also spend all year trying to teach out kids about healthy eating and keeping them in good routines. But at Christmas everything blows out anyway.
We're all eating too much bread, too few vegetables, too much sugar, staying up late because it's too light and hot to sleep.
The kids are cracking it with tiredness, there's so many commitments with school productions and shows and morning teas and other events and everyone is ready for a break from not just school and work but from cleaning and cooking and life in general.
And so we blow out and then battle getting back to life as we usually know it by the end of January, ready for the next school term.
Just as well we have another 11 months before we do it again.