Sloan’s Santa Issues

Last night, Coastal Carolina University hosted one of my favorite events of the year. At the beginning of December, the President’s Office hosts the Holiday Park Lighting, an event that commemorates the start of the holiday season at CCU. Santa makes an appearance and a “switch” is flipped that activates thousands of holiday lights, illuminating Blanton Park (a signature area of campus). Our University goes all out as attendees enjoy heavy appetizers, seasonal treats, holiday activities, festive music, and much more.

The Blanton Park Holiday Lighting event is one of the best times of the year. The s’mores station is always a big hit!

Another main draw of the event is for kids to meet Santa. Graciously, St. Nick donates a couple hours of his time on this evening to sit in his chair on the steps of Singleton Building and meet all the little Chants. The experience allows our future Chanticleers to not only speak to Santa but to meet Chauncey as well.

Last night, Sloan attended the Holiday Park Lighting with Sid. After I finished my work responsibilities covering it, I was able to meet my girls and enjoy the rest of the event in a personal capacity as opposed to a professional one. We had a blast eating mac and cheese, scarfing down cupcakes, playing around the Blanton Park fountain, admiring the s’mores station, and kicking the soccer ball. As the evening started to draw to a close, I couldn’t help but ask Sid if Sloan could meet Santa. This was a loaded question for one main reason…

Our family at the Blanton Park Holiday Lighting last night.

Sloan has Santa issues.

Last year, she had a meltdown when we took her to meet Santa for the first time. We went to get our Christmas card photos taken at a tree farm. Sloan, 8 months at the time, did fine when we slyly let Santa hold her but the moment she realized whose lap she was in, the tears started to flow.

Sloan did not enjoy Santa last year (photo courtesy of Erin Dietrich).

This year, we went to the same Christmas tree farm and took photos with the same Santa…and got the SAME results. Once again, Sloan started to lose it the moment he tried to touch her (no photos of this experience until we send out all our Christmas cards).

So the third time is the charm, right? I was hoping that perhaps the different setting would make her more receptive to Father Christmas. We stood in line with our good friend and next door neighbor, Ellen, and her daughter, Riley. The duo went first and showed Sloan that there was nothing to be scared of. Would it rub off on her?

Sloan loved waving to Santa from a distance and didn’t mind standing near him with Riley by her side. But actually sitting on his lap? That is a different story.

No, no no….

It was the same story this year with Sloan and Santa.

Sloan freaked out again, helping to produce the above classic photo. Perhaps I shouldn’t be too surprised. Millions of kids who haven’t turned 2 yet are petrified of Santa. After all, what about a bearded fat guy decked out in red pajamas is endearing to a toddler?

Don’t feel too bad for Sloan…Santa gave her a sucker and she was back to her normal, happy self.

I am not giving up though! My Knights of Columbus chapter is hosting a “Breakfast with Santa” social at St. Andrew after all masses this upcoming Sunday. Will Sloan overcome her fear this time around? It is worth noting that when I was a kid, it was always assumed that the Santa who appeared at these Knights of Columbus events was the real one. Will Santa’s authenticity calm her nerves? Well, to be honest, we will probably take it slow. This breakfast might be more of a chance for Sloan to simply observe at a distance as opposed to sitting on his lap. We shall see and I promise to report back on how it goes.

Do you have any tips on how to make a toddler more receptive to Santa? If so, let me know. Although there might be some really scary looking mall Santas out there, I want to communicate to my daughter that there is nothing to be afraid of. Don’t Blink.

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