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Little girl in Miami tells Santa she doesn't want to sit on his lap and his reaction goes viral


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Little girl in Miami tells Santa she doesn't want to sit on his lap and his reaction goes viral

Santa in Florida tells little girl 'it's her body' and she gets to decide what she wants to do

Published December 19, 2023 3:55am EST | Updated December 19, 2023 12:08pm EST

Daughter-with-Santa.jpeg?ve=1&tl=1

After waiting in an endless line, most kids are plopped down on Santa’s lap for a quick conversation and an obligatory photo.

But a Miami toddler wasn’t having it. She told Santa "no" — and he was only too happy to hear it. 

"When she said, ‘No,’ I’m thinking, ‘OK, I'm Santa. That’s a huge responsibility,'" Steve Lantz, a pastor and paid Santa Claus in Miami, Florida, told Fox News Digital. 

"Because you're not just a celebrity impersonator — there's a legacy. Even before he was Santa, he was Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra," added Lantz. 

"I’ve got to get this right."

Steve Lantz in costume

Steve Lantz, a pastor and paid Santa Claus, has gone viral after a young girl told him that no, she did not want to sit on his lap. (Carolina Apey)

Last week, Katie Love and her three-year-old daughter Adley dressed up to visit Santa Claus at the Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne in Miami.

"They were having a holiday party and my daughter for weeks has been so excited to meet Santa and tell him that she wants a purple bike for Christmas," said Love, a social media strategist, to Fox News Digital. 

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"We're actually Jewish, but she is obsessed with all things Christmas," the mom added.

As they waited in line, Love said her daughter was watching kids go up to sit on Santa’s lap. 

Katie Love, Adley Love Martin, Aaron Martin

Katie Love (left) and her husband Aaron Martin (right) are Jewish, but their daughter Adley (center) is obsessed with all things Christmas. (Katie Love)

"I could tell she was getting a little nervous," Love told Fox News Digital. 

"So I said, ‘Adley, you can go up there, but you don't have to sit on his lap. That's your choice. You can decide what you feel most comfortable with.'" 

Then it was finally Adley's turn to go up and talk to Santa. 

Seated in a grand red upholstered chair, Santa asked her if she would like to sit on his lap. And the child answered, "No."

"It could have been a moment for Santa to make her feel awkward or uncomfortable, or he could have even just ignored it," Love said. But instead, Santa affirmed Adley’s decision.

"The idea of exchanging physical touch in order to get something or to get a present is a concept that I want to move away from, as I am trying to teach my daughter to be a confident woman."

— Katie Love

"I'm thinking this is my opportunity as a minister to be a legit Santa," Lantz said. 

"So I'm not thinking of the ‘ho ho hos.’ I'm just thinking about what's good, what's loving, what's kind, what's right, what's godly."

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Katie Love got out her phone and started recording.

Lantz told little Adley that it was her choice to sit on his lap or not — a message that Love said she wanted her daughter to hear. 

Adley Love Martin with Santa

When "Santa," whose real name is Steve Lantz, asked Adley if she wanted to sit on his lap, the young girl answered, "No." (Katie Love)

"He told her it’s her body and she gets to decide — and that not even Santa can make that decision for her," Love said. 

"And I thought that was a really incredible moment because the idea of sitting on Santa's lap is very antiquated," added the mom. "The idea of exchanging physical touch in order to get something or to get a present is a concept that I want to move away from, as I am trying to teach my daughter to be a confident woman."

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Love posted the video on her TikTok account — where it has garnered some two million views.

"I wasn't expecting the video to resonate with so many people, but I got so many messages and comments from people who say they feel the same way," Love said.

Katie Love and Adley Love Martin

At the Santa encounter, Katie Love pulled out her phone to share how Lantz encouraged Adley's response and her ability to say, "No." (Katie Love)

"We love an educated Santa," one TikTok user commented. 

"Way to teach your little lady boundaries early," another user wrote.

"All Santas take note," another person commented.

Lantz, a father of two young children himself, said there’s a song called "My Body" that he and his wife taught their kids. 

"I think that teaching my daughter that ‘no’ is a complete sentence, and that she should be empowered to say it without ramifications, has been really important."

— Katie Love

"It's part of a curriculum to help protect your children from sexual abuse," Lantz said. 

"The chorus is, "My body's nobody's body but mine. You run your own body. Let me run mine.’ Instead of warning them about freaks and instilling fear, we thought, Let's teach them how valuable their body is, how valuable they are and that they control their body, not adults."

Some viewers said they thought the little girl looked confused by the whole interaction — and neither Love nor Lantz can deny that.

"Her mom said she was probably more confused that I didn't respond to her request," Lantz said. "That she's probably going, ‘Wait. I said I want a purple bike, and you’re telling me my body’s my body.’" 

Steve Lantz holding Santa costume

Lantz is also a father of two young children, and he taught both of them a song called "My Body," he said. (Lynda Lantz)

Love said other commenters on TikTok thought Adley was "way too young" to be taught such lessons.

"I really don't agree with that," she said. 

"Children have such little control, and for her to understand that she's in control of who touches her body and who she wants to give physical touch to is very important. I don't think that that's something that she needs to wait to learn."

The larger message, Love said, is for women to stand up for themselves and listen to their instincts.

"I think that teaching my daughter that ‘no’ is a complete sentence, and that she should be empowered to say it without ramifications, has been really important," Love said. 

Katie Love, Adley Love Martin, Aaron Martin with Herbie

Katie Love has encouraged her daughter to draw personal boundaries. (Katie Love)

"I grew up saying ‘yes’ and trying to be a people pleaser. We were just taught to be polite and to hug the uncle we didn't want to hug or to sit on Santa's lap."

In this — his very first season as a paid Santa — Lantz said he’s already picked up on a lot.

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"One thing that I've learned, and you learn this real quick, is that every kid matters," Lantz said. 

Katie and Adley Love and Santa

Katie Love recorded the moment that Santa (aka Steve Lantz, at left) told her daughter that she didn't have to sit on his lap and that "no" means "no." (Katie Love)

"You have to deal with the kid in front of you. You can't worry about the line. And so you treat every kid as special and you don't rush," he added.

At home, Adley is an affectionate child who gives her mom and dad hugs and kisses all the time, Love said. 

But she knows how to draw a boundary.

"Kids can still have a magical interaction with Santa without having to sit on someone's lap that they don't know," Love said

"As she grows up, I hope that's something she remembers and that it leads her down a path of feeling strong and empowered."

 

Source:   https://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/little-girl-miami-tells-santa-she-doesnt-want-sit-lap-reaction-goes-viral

 

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Bravo Santa! He handled this perfectly IMHO. Even children have the right to body autonomy.

I don't think any of us would ever make a child do something they weren't comfortable with, but this article does a great job of explaining why that is important.

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Excellent , empowering children's confidence positively  will only serve to help them in adulthood too :) 

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I am working at a mall now and the chair has been made wide enough that children can sit quite comfortably beside Santa. I get large families of 5 or more, well then, someone has to sit on Santa's lap if they want a picture.

Personally, I think this mother has a bit of an agenda. She  posted pictures of her daughter on TikTok on the web for the world to see. She overstates the concept of friendly human touch is a potentially dangerous thing. Many children hug Santa gladly, not in exchange for gifts. That said, Pastor Lantz did a great job. Every child is unique.  One never knows when a parent might share something  on TikTok and with Fox News.

 

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3 minutes ago, KevinMcWho said:

Personally, I think this mother has a bit of an agenda. She  posted pictures of her daughter on TikTok on the web for the world to see. She overstates the concept of friendly human touch is a potentially dangerous thing. Many children hug Santa gladly, not in exchange for gifts. That said, Pastor Lantz did a great job. Every child is unique.  One never knows when a parent might share something  on TikTok and with Fox News.

agreed - this mom has an agenda - kids don't have a concept of "personal space" - if anything they are more afraid of Santa - any good Santa knows not to force a child to sit with them - but this mom was using her daughter as a prop for her SJW mission - very sad

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I did not use those exact words, But always offer for them to either sit on my lap or stand next to me. I will never force a child to do what they do not want to do.

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When you think about it, asking a child to sit on my lap can be interpreted as a little creepy (in this day and age).

Instead of "lap", I say, "you can sit on my knee, you can sit on the stools or you can stand next to me - whichever you like"

"Knee" sounds a little less creepier than "lap", in my own opinion.

The History Center where I Claus in has two, small, kid sized stools that they instinctively head right to. 

IMG_0948.thumb.jpeg.56845c6a05f5bdd887ea2718d34beecb.jpeg

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3 hours ago, Santa Johnny Boy said:

When you think about it, asking a child to sit on my lap can be interpreted as a little creepy (in this day and age).

Instead of "lap", I say, "you can sit on my knee, you can sit on the stools or you can stand next to me - whichever you like"

"Knee" sounds a little less creepier than "lap", in my own opinion.

The History Center where I Claus in has two, small, kid sized stools that they instinctively head right to. 

IMG_0948.thumb.jpeg.56845c6a05f5bdd887ea2718d34beecb.jpeg

@Santa Johnny Boy 
POPS, I couldn't agree with you anymore!!! 

 

When dealing with The Miracle League & The I. U. 20 children, I ASK THEM FOR PERMISSION to do EVERYTHING I do with them. Can I place my hand on your shoulder, would that be, OK? " Do you want to sit up here with me? OR do you want to stand aside of me like you're my personal bodyguard"? I tell them, "Either way works for me, you decide!" Many of the children LOVE the idea of being my stand aside bodyguard when they have issues with sitting aside me or sitting on "my knee" is ALSO how I put it to them. I must have gotten that from my Pittsburgh Pops, because I never say lap! LOL!  Thanks 

6 hours ago, Drosselmeyer said:

agreed - this mom has an agenda - kids don't have a concept of "personal space" - if anything they are more afraid of Santa - any good Santa knows not to force a child to sit with them - but this mom was using her daughter as a prop for her SJW mission - very sad

200% AGREE with you Sir!!!

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7 hours ago, KevinMcWho said:

Personally, I think this mother has a bit of an agenda. She  posted pictures of her daughter on TikTok on the web for the world to see. She overstates the concept of friendly human touch is a potentially dangerous thing. Many children hug Santa gladly, not in exchange for gifts.

7 hours ago, Drosselmeyer said:

agreed - this mom has an agenda - kids don't have a concept of "personal space" - if anything they are more afraid of Santa - any good Santa knows not to force a child to sit with them - but this mom was using her daughter as a prop for her SJW mission - very sad

I’m going to agree with these two gentlemen right here. All good Santa’s allow children to sit or not sit on their lap (I refuse to say that “lap” is creepy; it’s just a word for crying out loud). This, however, smacks of SJW madness run amok. Those are just my two cents. If you disagree, fine, whatever, but (like @Drosselmeyer said), kids don’t really have a sense of “personal space” (besides being scared of strangers, depending on the stage of child development, and so forth).

If a child is afraid of me, I’ll do whatever I can to make them comfortable. If a child really doesn’t want to sit with me, that’s definitely OK (“you’re a wonderful little boy/girl, you’re on the nice list, and Santa loves you very much; it’s OK—you don’t need to sit with me if you don’t want to”). This, however, seems more akin to SJW nonsense to me.

That’s all I’m going to say on this one. I’m going to continue to invite children (and the young at heart) to sit on my lap. If someone who’s not a child has a problem with that, then that’s their problem. Sorry, call me a traditionalist if you want, but that’s what I think and I stand by it.

Edited by Sundblom Santa
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The woman is definitely an agenda pusher and is clearly using her daughter to do the heavy lifting.

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