Lisa Leonard Designs

a visit with santa

December 13th | older posts



after church we ate some italian food and headed over to the mission to visit santa.  it had been a cloudy morning but as soon as we got in line it started raining.  matthias ran around and played rock, paper, scissors with daddy while david played his infamous game of ‘jello legs’ where he refuses to stand.  rascal.  and we spotted a beautiful rainbow stretched across the sky!
* * *
this santa is the absolute sweetest and he spent a lot of time with david and made him laugh.  he let david pull on his beard proving it was authentic.  he listened to matthias’ long list of christmas wishes and hugged him multiple times.  then he passes our candy canes, coloring books and lets each kid choose from the toy basket.  so fun.
our official stand on santa is ‘it’s fun to pretend’.  we love celebrating with our kids but we want them to understand the real meaning of christmas.  the funny thing is, although we have never told lots of santa tales, matthias is convinced he is real.  do your kids believe in santa?

40 Responses

  1. Traci P says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the pictures! They are all precious! What fun memories you have with the kids and hubby!


  2. Kristi F says:

    What lovely Santa photos! When my kids (now teens) would ask me if I believed in Santa I would say, “I believe in the spirit of Santa.” I think we all have a little Santa in us.

  3. Corinne says:

    Oh my goodness, that Santa would have had even me convinced :) He looks like such a wonderful Santa, I’m glad you guys had a great day!
    Right now, the kids are so little, that Fynn is just starting to understand about Santa. I try not to say too much, we’ll see how it goes in the coming years…

  4. Roxy says:

    Our kids are little, and we entertain the magic of Santa. But we’re careful not to emphasize that Santa can see you while you’re sleeping, or knows if you’ve been bad or good – we like the bit of fairyland magic that we also enjoy with wood nymphs and flower fairies and the idea that our squirrel is named Murphy and wears a scarf that our 3-year-old son made him. We hope to teach the true meaning of Christmas and at the same time not shut out the childhood pretending. If so, we’d have to cut quite a bit out, including an imaginary friend named Doby! :-) Thanks for sharing – I like to know other people’s stances on Santa and Christmas.

  5. lindsey says:

    those santa pics are perfect! he seems so sweet – we may have to make the voyage to visit him tomorrow (hopefully we’ll get the same guy!). our stand on santa: we don’t talk him up much. the kids get one gift from him at christmas. when the time comes when they ask if he’s real, i’ll be honest and say no, but he was. i’ll show her pics of st. nick and what he had done, and how the santas we see are just carrying on his tradition. but for now, it’s so fun to be imaginative and fun, just like with the tooth fairy.

  6. Theresa says:

    What a wonderful Santa!! He looks Authentic.

    I love to walk and run in the rain!! Great Pictures as always!

  7. Chrissie says:

    That Santa is such a sweetheart! So warm and cuddly. Love the pictures.

  8. Ali says:

    I believe in Santa, let alone the kids! My 9 year old has only asked me once ‘Is Santa real?’, to which I replied, ‘You are asking the wrong question. The correct question is ‘Do you want to believe?’. I think he grasped it.

    And your Santa is marvellous. Over here, you can’t sit on Santa’s knee any more. Some kind of child protection, health and safety malarkey. What nonsense.

  9. Robbin says:

    It’s so nice when you get a Santa who takes time and doesn’t just do a quick “how are you, what do you want” stint. Really cure pics of the boys with him. I believed in Santa till I recognized my dad’s handwriting. Hope no kids see this. We did the Santa thing for fun, too, but I don’t recall if they believed in him or not. I’ll have to ask. Maybe we’ll be in SLO after Christmas, but we are going to OR to see Danielle, along with Liz & Gregg. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Lisa. love and hugs

  10. Kathy says:

    Pictures of the boys and Santa are so precious! He looks so real… he? Love the shadow picture of the family very nice!

  11. I LOVE that shadow pic, so cool!

  12. Peggy says:

    When my kids were teenagers, they talked about how they wouldn’t “lie” to their kids about Santa. Now that they have kids of their own, they understand the “magic” of what Santa is all about, and how it plays into the real meaning of Christmas. It’s lovely!!

  13. Jenny says:

    Love all your pics, Lisa. Makes me miss home – I’m coming with my fam on Wed! Hope to see you around!

  14. zalaine says:

    Miss Lisa, I still believe in Santa!!! Makes anything seem possible.

  15. Misty Matz says:

    I have to comment that the picture with Matty & Santa – BEST Santa picture I have ever seen! OMGosh, that is the sweetest!

  16. Jennifer Fast says:

    Great pictures! Love the pics of the boys with Santa….precious…… and to answer your question….of course my kids believe in Santa…..that’s what Christmas is all about…….i have a couple older nieces that know……but my sister has always told them if you don’t believe you don’t get……

  17. Bomi Jolly says:

    Lovely lovely pictures! Thanks for sharing these! Very nice!

  18. Charmayne Bowling says:

    If you want a very touching book about the similarities between Christ and Santa go to Amazon and search “I believe in Santa Clause” ~ it is so touching and helps our kids to remember that the true reason for celebrating is all about our Savior. Merry Christmas!

  19. Ramona says:

    we have taught our kids that it is the spirit of Santa – so yes we pretend he is real… but they know we are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ; the Incarnation of God – all the other stuff is good fun and we put out cookies for santa and carrots for the reindeer each christmas eve – even now when my children are 14.

    it is a good balance.

  20. gina says:

    Iam convinced that is the REAL Santa !!!!

  21. Lori Taylor says:

    Love your pictures. My 10 year old still believes. We have told him that Santa has chosen the most special day of the year to give all believers 1 gift to celebrate Christ and as long as he believes Santa will help us celebrate.

  22. Jenna H says:

    We’ve never told them that he was real so they don’t really believe in him…they want too but know he’s not! It’s never been a bad thing either…they love Christmas anyway! They know the real reason is about Jesus and that He’s real…that’s ALL that matters! By the way, I received the necklace I ordered for my mother in law and LOVE it! You are just too good! And your boys are precious! Merry Christmas!

  23. Kathy Cox says:

    Lisa, we’ve always told our children that the only reason we celebrate Christmas is…Christ! And Christ came for sinners and that there is NOTHING that they can do (good or bad) that will change the love he has for them. They have cousins that do believe (and we are with them every Christmas morning) and it has never been an issue…although, we have made it clear that they should never hurt their cousins by telling them the truth. I love that they are truly thankful to who gave them each gift and know how hard that person worked to provide it for them…and that they give out of such love!

  24. lynda says:

    i am convinced that is the real santa! what an *amazing* photo and what an amazing santa. i have not seen any better santa photo than there. i’m blown away. merry christmas… ♥

  25. Kimberly says:

    We also took our two boys to see Santa this weekend. A local hotel/restaurant hosted a Breakfast with Santa – so relaxed and so sweet. My youngest, Ben, wanted me to take pictures of Santa with my camera, get really close to Santa, but was not interested in sitting on his lap. A great memory and tradition for our family. Your family warms my heart.
    I like your approach to Santa , it’s fun to pretend, my husband and I have discussed how to handle the holiday figure, he is really fun, but not what the holiday is about.

  26. Alana says:

    Our kids do believe, but are sometimes hesitant…. I love your idea of “it’s fun to pretend”–what a perfect way to entertain the spirit of Santa without giving him too much emphasis. Thanks for a great idea!

  27. Lisa says:

    That Santa looks amazing! My daughter is 5 1/2 and she does believe… a friend whose son is 2 years older told me her son no longer believes and it made me sad to realize how quickly the magic fadrs and how little time I have before that happens for my own daughter. I also want my daughter to know the true meaning of Christmas but the magic and the believing and the excitement… I love it so!

  28. Lisa says:

    We are heading to SLO from Seattle on Sunday. My son has not wanted to even talk to another Santa, he only wants the one at the Mission by Nanny and Papa’s! We will likely be there Monday, have lunch by the creek if it is not raining and head to Avila Barn on Tues. Hope that is the Santa we will see! Thanks for sharing your great photos!

  29. Laury Booy Hoganson says:

    We are doing “Santa” the same way my parents did Santa. In Holland, SinterKlaas day is December 6th, when we honor him in a historical sense for who he was and what he did. He is totally seperate from Christmas over there. As tradition, We’d put our shoes out in the morning (we each had a wooden shoe for this occasion). Though they are supposed to be filled over night, my mother would fill them and present them to us after a special family dinner she had prepared. We would find the usual chocolate foiled gold coins or a Chocolate Letter inital and an Orange. Those were traditional gifts for us, but we also got another little gift and or goodie that would vary by our age etc. My Husband was given a pair of Klompen (wooden shoes) when we got married. We gave one to each clide to use as a tradition for this very same day. They each have a plush Sinterklaas and we give them their bright red wooden shoe after dinner when we do our Advent calendar. We have stockings on Christmas morning too, but we had not really said who fills them. Our kids are 2 and 3. We do not have any Santa items really in our home, though he is a fun story and all, we leave him as a story and celebrate the Messiahs birth.

  30. Jill says:

    Such precious pictures! They are filled with emotion! You have a very special family!!!!!

  31. these are beautiful lisa. you get more and more creative every day it seems.

    i love the big one with matty and santa.

    love you.

  32. Claudine says:

    Lisa, I so enjoy reading your blog daily. What a creative, inspirational, blessed woman you are! This post was simply delightful, and you have captured the family outing to visit Santa so well. I love the pictures of the boys with him — each of those has such a compassion and care in them!

    Happy holidays to you and your lovely family!


  33. laurel says:

    Hi Lisa!! I just found your blog via my darling friend Karyn FRENCHCHARMING. I LOVE the sense of sweeteness in all you do. Your jewelry is darling- I only wish i saw this earlier!!!
    I will be checking it all out now:
    I am mom to 4. Half believe and half kep the mystery going. This year though I am having less presents go to them from Santa and more from us so that they see Santa has lots of children to think about and he cannot bring everything. My little girls are very sweet and don’t ask for much. I look forward to coming back soon!
    Merry Christmas Sweet Girl.

  34. Those are the sweetest Santa photographs I’ve ever seen.

  35. Ohhh I love your Santa pictures! – we don’t have Santa’s over here (not that you can sit on their laps & tell them what you want) – all of your photos are beautiful… as is your blog! : )

  36. I’m sorry – me a bit confused….. you mean to say you DON’T believe in Santa? So who’s the guy in the red suit?!!! t.x

  37. Michelle says:

    Lisa~ today you were my Santa! I received my first piece of jewelry from you in the mail. It is my Christmas present from my husband. I love it! My son is still too little to believe or not believe. I hope to teach him the magic of the spirit and the generousity. Your Santa photos are the sweetest I’ve ever seen. Thanks for sharing your gift, insights and beautiful photos. Merry Christmas to you & yours!

  38. Caralyn says:

    Hey, Santa’s sleeping!!!! :)

  39. Chuck says:

    so much love and beauty here…
    your family, jewelry, photography.
    thank you!

    and peace~

  40. Cati says:

    I just found your blog and I was really enjoying seeing all of your pictures, but this entry made me catch my breath. I grew up in Paso Robles and SLO and seeing your first picture, it brought back so many memories. I moved to the Midwest 4 years ago, but often find myself still considering it home. Your pictures caught the special feeling downtown has, the one that I miss so much.

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