The best excuse to explain why your kids won’t be getting a puppy for Christmas.

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Taking your kids to visit Santa’s Grotto is a rite of passage and a magical sight to behold. Lashings of red, gold and green, a grand sleigh overflowing with (empty) packages and jolly elves rounding up the excitable little ones straining their necks for a glimpse of The Big Guy. But when your child clambers up onto Santa’s lap and leans in to whisper in his ear, there’s a brief moment of panic that strikes every parent.

What are they asking for?

Beads of sweat form on your forehead as you strain to hear the wishlist over Bublé’s crooning. You wordlessly plead with him – NO PETS. 

When your child asks Santa for something he (you) can’t (or won’t) bring, it knocks the wind out of you.

On the latest episode of This Glorious Mess, Mamamia’s podcast about family life, we asked a shopping centre Santa to spill all his belly-shaking tricks of the trade. And apparently, there is one line he uses to kindly quash your child’s hope of getting a present with a tail.

Listen: A shopping centre Santa shares his tips for parents taking their kids to see Santa. (Post continues below…)

Santa Colin is an old hat at playing Mr Claus, and over the years he has crafted a line so perfect, we are definitely going to be stealing it to use ourselves.

“I say, I can’t bring you a pet because they get very cold on the sled and there’s no proper place to carry them,” he told Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddo.

It’s simple but brilliant.

“But if you put it out there that you are looking forward to a puppy, who knows, one may come into your life very soon,” Santa Colin also tells the kids.

That last line is very important for the Santas – because who knows if mummy already promised little Susie she’d find a Border Collie wrapped in a bow under the tree on Christmas day? It also leaves a bit of wiggle room in case kids grow out of their parakeet phase two weeks later.

No parent wants to spoil those precious few years of unshakable belief and awe for their kids, and it’s up to shopping centre Santas to keep the magic alive.

And with this line – you won’t be using a pooper scooper or picking hair off your couch for the next decade.

Listen to the full episode here:

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This content was created with thanks to The KFC Big Bash League.