My children are fuzzy with four legs, but I basically treat them as if they're my own human babies. I celebrate their birthdays, buy them presents, dress them up for special occasions, and I have even taken them to the mall for a picture with Santa. They were nervous, but the picture turned out cute.

Recently, I was reading about how it's cruel to force your children to sit on Santa's lap. When I initially stumbled upon this article, I was both slightly annoyed and very intrigued. I thought, "Really? It's cruel? Yikes, it's just a picture." But, as I read further, I was no longer annoyed. I actually began to wonder, "Why we do this to kids (and in my case, animals)?"

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When I was little, my brother and I got pictures with Santa. Though I don't remember ever being scared of him, I can't help but feel bad for children who might be timid or terrified in that situation. So, why do we force children to take a picture on Old Saint Nick's lap? They learn from a very early age not to talk to strangers, yet they're forced to sit for a picture with this jolly stranger. I can imagine how scary that must be for a small child.

Again, I don't have human babies, but I find myself feeling a little guilty for forcing my cat and dog to sit with Santa JUST because I selfishly wanted this picture. Sure, it doesn't actually hurt pets or kids to do this, but it clearly can be a scary experience for them. Should we consider how our little ones feel before handing them off to Santa?

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