We would love you to join our discussion. Where do your children sit for their photo with Santa?

A couple of years ago a child protection activist raised concerns saying it was best not to sit children on Santa’s lap for Christmas photos.

It sparked a massive debate at the time on social media, Bravehearts founder, Hetty Johnston, spoke out about the need for children to feel safe and not feel pressured to sit on Santa’s knee.

“The directive would be for children to stand beside, unless parents or children request to sit on his knee,” she told the Courier Mail.

“Shopping centres have duty of care to protect children on premises.


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“We teach kids it’s ok to say no if they don’t feel safe.

“This means not having to sit on anyone’s lap, including family members, if they don’t want to.”

Australian sexuality educator, Deanne Carson, told Kidspot, “I don’t want to slam parents – but I think they can undermine their child’s trust when they coerce or bribe or blackmail,” she says.

“It can set up some very unhappy consequences – if the child is at risk, and they don’t trust that the adult is going to support them in setting boundaries around body autonomy.”

While she does think that the message about consent is getting through to parents – the message unravels when parents’ desires override the child’s needs.

Are your children happy to have a photo with Santa? How do they prefer to do it?

We have shared the story of schools banning students from including candy canes and similar treats with their Christmas cards PLUS a call to ban reindeers at Christmas festivities.

Top that off with a warning to parents to STOP lying to kids about Santa and Christmas is all but over as far as the Grinch is concerned. Then there was the new policy regarding gifts for teachers  and the changes to how Santa could give lollies from the firetruck.

Share your comments below.

Image Getty photo


  • To be honest, we never did Santa photo’s.

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  • My kids hated being anywhere near Santa, so we stopped this very early

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  • I totally get this. I used to try for that perfect Christmas/Santa photo only to realise it was freaking my son out so badly it wasn’t worth it. I think we have them from when he was 2 and 3, but not after that.

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  • Our kids have never had a problem sitting on Santa however if they were scared, I would have never made them!

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  • I have no experience with this! This is our first year.

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  • My daughter prefers to stand beside him. As long as she is comfortable, that is my main concern.

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  • I never forced my kids to sit on Santa’s knee. One year my boys sat in front of Santa and another year they stood beside him. It was always their choice.

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  • Agree

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  • We go off the children, if there not comfortable, we usually get in the photo to, my kids are now able to say whether or not they want to, they did this year wanting to stand next to santa and mrs claus

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  • I agree, we should let kids decide if they want to do it. Before a certain age, they wouldn’t care for it anyway. Once they are old enough, it’s up to them what they feel comfortable with. I haven’t done Santa photos yet, but this year my 3 year old expressed interest so I might this year.

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  • I agree that we shouldn’t pressure kids to go on anybodies lap, including our own ! Personally I never bothered with having photo’s taken with Santa.

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  • When I take my son this year I will gauge how he is around him. If he is distressed then no way will I make him sit on his lap just for the sake of a photo. I wouldn’t like to be forced to do something I didn’t want to do, so why should we make our kids?

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  • Some little ones are scared of Santa’s beard. I remember both my nieces started to walk up to Santa then ran back to Grandma or Aunty to go with them. They did it at the same age too. Their birthdays are 2 years apart (+ 2 days difference) They were both ok their next years.

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  • We encourage ours to stand next to Santa – they’re happier with that.

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  • Kids should be free to make their own decisions however there’s nothing funnier than the screaming kid on Santa’s lap photo.

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