When Newspapers Wish You a Merry Christmas But Then Warn You to Be Wary of Santa Claus. Also of Your Relatives.

A photo with Santa is still a childhood rite of passage for many Americans, a cultural tradition as synonymous with Christmas as eggnog and gift exchanges. Every year, photos of scared infants and toddlers wailing on Santa’s lap make the rounds on social media and in family text-message chains.

Many parents don’t see a problem with participating in what they view as an innocent tradition. But some have begun questioning the way the culture approaches photos with Santa amid the #MeToo movement and a national conversation over how to teach young children about consent and physical boundaries.

If parents force their children to sit on Santa’s lap for a photo, some have asked, what kind of message does that send them later on in life? The discussion echoes advice given by the Girl Scouts last year, reminding parents that their daughters don’t “owe” relatives hugs during the holiday season.

Some say it’s a matter of simply listening to children and not forcing them to follow through with photos if they are scared or uneasy. Others have opted out of taking their children to meet Santa in the first place.

—From a 12/23/18 story in the Washington Post headlined “Should children sit on Santa’s lap: Some parents are questioning the tradition in the #MeToo era.”

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