To Force or Not To Force?

Today at about 4:45 I will be faced with the age old dilemma "Do you force your kid to sit on Santa's lap?" Yes, today the little man is going to have his first face to face encounter with the old man in red, Mr. Claus. I'm not going to lie, I'm a bit nervous for us both.

I have varying thoughts on this issue.
  1. It seems like a rite of passage for a young child to sit on Santa's lap, screaming or not. Think about it, who doesn't have a picture of themselves dressed to the nines screaming in sheer terror as mom and dad tried to put you on that jolly man's lap? In the future aren't these the pictures that make for the best holiday party invitations?
  2. We are creating memories. Find me one person who has a childhood filled solely with sunshine and roses? Shouldn't he have to take one for the team (and by team I mean the extended family?)
  3. The former prosecutor in me finds something instinctively wrong about forcing my screaming two year old on to a total stranger's lap... against his will. Really, what am I teaching him about stranger danger if I do that?
  4. Do we really know who these men are? The fact that someone volunteers to have hoards of snotty kids rubbing around on his lap all day? Yeah, well you get my drift.
There you have it, the last two points clearly beat out the first. Don't get me wrong, if the little man is all about climbing up on the big guy's lap then through gritted teeth I will be there to snap the first picture. But let me assure you if there is any hesitation I will be more than happy with a high five, a fist pump, or even a chest bump.