I'm amused at all this Santy-phobia. It never occurred to me to worry about strange men in my bedroom (sigh, that's what got me where I am today, boom-cha had to be done). I think it may partly have been because I never did the Grotto visit, which I do think is just creepy. Instead I was raised on a more wholesome diet of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas', which I still think is beyond wonderful. Also, Santa didn't come into my room, we went and got our stockings from 'neath the tree - we'd hang them over the fireplace and go down next morning and peep into the room, the lights would be off, the tree lit up with pressies underneath, all twinkly, and a full stocking waiting there in front of it. Magic!
I had friends in college who were two very petite, young, cutey twins. Their mother apparently dressed them alike til they were twelve (yes, scary). Remember the Switzer's window and Browne Thomas opposite? One year they went to see Santa, and queued outside Switzer's, where there was a fancy Grotto and bells and whistles, while in BT's there was just a lone Santa on a chair. No-one was going near BT's though the queue was huge for Switzers, so the two little girls jumped up and down and said 'We want to go see that Santa, can we can we?' Then they rushed in, and climbed on the lonely Santa's knee and cried 'We love you Santa!': and he started to cry. God.
My happy Santa association is that I had a dream that I met him. Not yer Coke version, this was more like Terry Pratchett's Hogfather, though without the vittles and butchery, thankfully.
I dreamt I was lost in the snow somewhere, with pine trees, and I came across what can only be described as a workshop. When I went in, there was a huge, sinewy, red-bearded man, very Celtic, like a smith, sort of thing. He was dressed in green and possibly leather (but not in a Village People way). He was making things and he was Santa! I found myself to be my, say, three or four year old self and he gave me a huge hug. It was a little like those self-help exercises where you comfort your inner child. It was absolutely the best dream, I felt like I had been let in on a wonderful, life affirming secret.
Last year was the first year my daughter really got the whole Santa thing. I had a stocking for her but her Dad bought her a magazine with a free little one, which she hung on the tree. I (unbelievably) FORGOT to do the hanging out the stocking ritual with her (we were out til late on Christmas Eve, himself was working late, but still, Bad Mother!). So in the morning she came running in, bypassed the bulging stocking, looked at the little one on the tree and said 'Oh, Santa didn't give me any presents in my stocking'.
Tell me parents, will I ever stop feeling guilty about that? Not til I buy her her first house, at least. This year, the stockings are going up with the decorations so that can never happen again!