This year marks Audrey's third Christmas. The past two years Santa has been a non-issue. Audrey couldn't care less about the guy. Last year when we took her to sit on his lap, she just looked at everyone like, "what on earth is this all about?" We didn't buy pictures due to the scowl on her face but she didn't cry and wasn't scared of the guy. This year, however, is a totally different story. We've had to work pretty hard at making Santa a welcome idea in our home.
I'm not sure how or when it all started, but I think it was seeing a huge yard inflatable of Santa that did Audrey in. Starting in October she's been simply petrified of Santa. She wouldn't let me go anywhere near the Christmas section in the store (which I was fine with -- it was OCTOBER). I didn't understand this fear of Santa and didn't intervene until I realized how bad it really was.
Audrey was at dance class and they began working on a Christmas routine set to "Up on the Housetop." Audrey heard the word "Santa" and booked it for the door. Before I could even realize what was going on she had opened the door and sprinted down the hallway, screaming. She was absolutely terrified and refused to go back in to her classroom. We had to wait until they were done working on the song before she was willing to participate again. Her fear got so bad that Audrey would literally tremble with fear at even the mention of Santa's name. When we told her, "but he brings all of the toys at Christmas!" She firmly stated that if that was the case, she wanted no toys. I needed to help her realize he was really nothing to be afraid of.
One evening we sat down and I showed her some YouTube videos of kids visiting Santa. That helped. We read a book about Santa. She started warming up to him. We talked about him for a very long time. I told her Santa was a fun Christmas character that we all loved and that she didn't need to be afraid of him. She was comforted and I was happy that she wasn't scared.
After our talk she would mention Santa now and then and tell us how silly he is or that he's "a nice grandpa guy." We saw a man at Wal Mart with a white beard and Audrey was sure it was him. She asked me to walk in the opposite direction, but she was intrigued, I could tell. Even though she was more okay with Mr. Claus, she asked me if Santa could put our gifts on the porch instead of in our house. I told her I would ask him nicely to do so ;).
It's been a long road teaching my poor, anxious little Otter Pop that Santa really isn't something to be afraid of, but today I think we can officially say that her phobia is cured.
On Tony's lunch break we went to the mall to see the big guy, and although she was hesitant at first she did it. She visited with Santa and told him exactly what she wanted: a Sofia the First amulet. She got her treat and has not stopped boasting about how brave she was seeing Santa. She keeps telling us what a nice guy he is, and that he gave her a hug. She is in full on Christmas mode now, and can even sing all of the lyrics to "Up on the Housetop" without a hint of fear.