Chill out, parents. Kids who've never had a photo with Santa turn out just fine.

If you weren’t already tipped off by all the tinsel, I have an important announcement to make: IT’S CHRISTMAS.

Close enough, anyway.

As we all know, some things are absolutely compulsory in the leadup to Christmas: wanting to kill people when they take your parking space while last-minute shopping, watching your uncles fist-fight over the last VB, and forcing your children to pose for a photo on Santa’s lap. Non-negotiable. These things absolutely must happen, or ’tis not the season to jolly.

Today, the parents of Australia collectively lost their minds when it was revealed that this year, Big W wouldn’t be employing a man to pad himself in pillows, wear a fake beard, and invite children to sit on his lap while people took photos.

“CAN YOU BELIEVE IT???? ” they asked.

Yes. Yes, I can believe it.

Here is a little-known fact about Christmas that I am revealing to you for your own good: it is not compulsory to get a photo of your child on Santa’s lap. Not every year. Actually… not ever.

(“WHAT??????” scream the parents of the Internet. I swear, it’s true.)

Listen to the mum who admits to using Christmas as a bribe for her kids.

In fact, there are some (admittedly rare) cases of children who missed out on getting photos with Santa altogether and then survived, unscathed, into adulthood.

One member of the Mamamia team describes her childhood as “idyllic”, despite the lack of photographic evidence of her sitting on a bearded man dressed all in red. Another says she’s “pretty well-adjusted”, considering the trauma.

“I actually feel like it’s a bit weird and creepy,” admitted a team member who’s asked not to be named. “All the kids look awkward. I’m not sorry I missed out.”

There you have it, parents. Scientific proof that photos with Santa are not the be-all and end-all of holiday cheer, whatever you might mistakenly believe.

Actually, you’re thinking of presents. Presents are the be-all and end-all of holiday cheer. And you can still get those at Big W.

Just sayin’.