I was pregnant with Tucker when the "Santaland Diaries" first aired. If I ever put him on Santa's lap with innocent thoughts of a perfect Christmas, luckily by now neither of us remembers it. Sedaris puts his finger on what that's all about when he describes his experiences as Santa's "photo elf":
The parents had planned to send these pictures as cards or store them away till the child is grown and can lie, claiming to remember the experience . . . which supposedly means on paper that everything is exactly the way it is supposed to be, that everything is snowy and wonderful. It’s not about the child or Santa or Chirstmas or anything but the parents’ idea of a world they cannot make work for them.
Fortunately, not all parents are so invested in perfection. Some are willing to share photos of their children's perfect horror at being forced to sit on a strange man's lap.