Readers of The Hoopla will recall that, recently, I posted a photo on Facebook of my twin nieces meeting Santa for the first time.

The responses were surprising, to say the least.

“They’ll be scarred for life!” was one response.  The children were, “crying out for their parents to protect them.”

Worst of all, this: “It is that kind of behaviour from irresponsible parents that makes it hard for children later on to discriminate between appropriate and non-appropriate touching.”

Today my brother sent me this picture from New York.

Same Santa (would you believe!), same gorgeous girls. Just five years on.

After Hurricane Sandy, in which twins, Mimi ( aka Misty) and Riley, lost their home and all their toys, books, photos and keepsakes – meeting Santa in pretty new dresses is something of a new beginning.

They’ve found a place to live, temporarily, and Santa has been informed of their change of address.

Joy To The World!

And joy to kids everywhere who are counting down the arrival of the venerable and magical Father Christmas!

To see the orginal story… and comments. Go here. 

And as for the science of Christmas?




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  • Reply December 11, 2012

    Jayneen Sanders

    Your nieces are so beautiful! And fancy the same Santa. Santa consistency is unheard of in this day an age. 🙂

  • Reply December 11, 2012

    Wendy Harmer

    Thanks Jayneen, I’m a pretty proud Aunt, I can tell you that.

  • Reply December 11, 2012

    sue Bell

    love the santa message

  • Reply December 11, 2012


    Love it! The girls are now something of a celebrity here in Australia. May their Christmas be joyous despite the circumstances.

  • Reply December 11, 2012


    Your nieces look beautiful and happy Wendy, hardly scarred FOR LIFE by their initial experience with Santa…I hope they have a very Merry Christmas.

  • Reply December 11, 2012

    Mrs Woog

    Fantastic x

  • Reply December 12, 2012


    Mimi and Riley look absolutely gorgeous holding hands on Santa’s lap. Here’s to new memories and pictures after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.

  • Reply December 12, 2012


    Good Lord – move over Wendy! Clearly there’s a LOT of bad parents (and aunts) out there subjecting their children to emotional scarring from “Evil Santa”!! I really hate this side of society. Common sense has been replaced by political correctness and sanctimony.

  • Reply December 12, 2012

    Christine Gates

    hilarious youtube – thanks Wendy

  • Reply December 12, 2012


    Got an out loud giggle from me!!

  • Reply December 12, 2012



  • Reply December 12, 2012


    They are beautiful. I sure hope Santa finds their parents as well as those lovely girls. Sounds like the whole family has had a difficult time recently.

  • Reply December 15, 2012

    Wendy Green

    I didn’t pass on the Santa myth to my kids – my daughter (now over 30) has told me that far from feeling like they missed out, she actually appreciated my honesty and that I went to great pains to instruct them on the real meaning of celebrating Christmas instead of perpetuating the Santa-lie.

    It gives me the irrits something bad to see Christmas railroaded by Santaism, more so this year than ever before. Why is that?

  • Reply December 16, 2012

    sue Bell

    Wendy Green it’s because Santa represents magic and fun. My children grew up with Santa and Easter Bunny. They loved it. They always put out food for santa, reindeers and Easter Bunny. One year my son put out presents he had made for the reindeers and we went to the post office and he sent a present to Santa. When the children asked if they were real i always said what would you like to believe.
    When they realised Santa was not real they delighted in getting secret santa presents for other children. The first year my youngest knew Santa was not real he dressed up as Santa for the family Christmas and gave out all the presents (but he had to ask me who they were for as he could not read the labels) He thought everyone believed he really was Santa.
    Believing there is a Santa is the same as believing there is a God, just make believe. But the spirit of Christmas is families getting together, thinking of other people, learning to not be selfish and having a fun time preparing decorations, food, cards, presents and loving people.
    Santa, the Easter Bunny (or Bilby), the Tooth Fairy help extend a child’s imagination and are a great opportunity to teach them personal care, care of others and loving others. So just relax Wendy, embrace the imagination and explore interesting ways you can make Christmas a very enjoyable time for everyone.

    • Reply December 16, 2012

      Wendy Green

      … and, of course, magic and fun are all we should be teaching our kids … phhhtttttt!
      … a bit superficial isn’t it, Sue Bell, compared to the real truth of Christmas?

      I read to my kids every night, fuelling their imaginations with stories of fairies and goblins, magic and fun. They didn’t need Santa and the Easter Bunny to ignite their imaginations, Sue.

      I preferred to teach my kids that over two thousand years ago, a baby was born – sent by a loving God – into our troubled world to show us how to live decent lives of love and care for others, to go the extra mile to make the world a better place. I am pleased and proud to say that each of my four children are citizens of the world who contribute in a worthwhile way to their communities and can still have ‘fun’ at Christmas.

      And, don’t forget, Jesus Christ is a historical figure, not some trumped up lie like the Easter Bunny who was more than likely invented by the chocolate manufacturing companies!! Whether or not you believe He is the Son of God, no one can deny Jesus existence. You may as well deny the Holocaust.

  • Reply December 16, 2012

    sue Bell

    And don’t forget the myth of the Fisher King, the king who must be slain for the crops to grow. Your Jesus story like all legends takes a real character and then grafts on symbols and mythical stories from centuries ago. Easter was the celebration of the start of the new crops, the resurrection of the seeds. Christmas is just as old, the celebration of the mid winter and the rituals to save the people through to spring and new foods.
    Imagination is essential for human survival, without it we would not imagine science, music, art or look to the future. So don’t limit fantasy and fun, use it where ever you can in any way you can, just be sure that they always know the difference between the superficial enchantment of magic and science.
    My children (now well grown) are also great members of society, both really good with children and they love Christmas, so don’t knock the Santa myth, for some kids this is the only time in the year that they can believe in magic , the only time they can imagine a better life, the only time they can have hope. Any way a person gets hope is okay with me, whether it is through religion or through fairy tales and myths.

  • Reply December 17, 2012

    Wendy Green

    Or through good people who provide the homeless with shelter and the undernourished with food; people like the Salvation Army and the St Vincent de Paul Society.
    Have a Happy Christmas Sue. May the peace of Christ be with you always x

  • Reply December 18, 2012


    And Wendy, may the grace of Buddha, Ganesh, Mohammed and the Flying Spaghetti Monster be with you. No-one is forcing you to make your children believe in Santa Claus, and I hope everyone enjoys this time of year with those they love and in their own way.

  • Reply December 20, 2012


    I love a good crying Santa photo – and look forward to pinning my kids up at their 21sts. So glad to see Mimi and Riley weren’t sufficiently “damaged”.

  • Reply December 20, 2012


    Santa is fun when they’re little. I’ve been educating the grandsons about charity. They have a little friend with leukemia and so have been asked what about donating to the children’s hospital. And they have pets – so what about the local RSPCA which needs lot of pet litter. People tend to donate food that’s all. And they get it. DIL decided last year that instead of giving them another car, game, whatever she would ask if they would like to sponsor a child in Africa. And now that child in Africa is part of the family conversation.

    I’m a big believer in opening kids’ eyes.

    And Wendy your little nieces are beautiful. Don’t worry about flak. Some people are born to spoil things for others.
    Go with your instinct always. Trust in yourself. You’re a good person.

  • Reply December 23, 2012

    Phil Brown

    Hi Wendy, and thanks for posting both the pics of our girls.

    I hadn’t seen the first article so I was really surprised at the reaction from a few people. Obviously most of your readers correctly identified them as morons, being able to appreciate the image for what it really was.

    To fully explain, Misty & Riley were really excited to see Santa for the first time and we waited in line for about an hour to see him. They could see the other kids all waiting in line, having their pics taken.

    Finally it was our turn and they happily sat on Santa’s knee. The photographer was ready but I think my wife moved to the side and they thought she was leaving – instant howl – in perfect twin harmony – and a great snap by the photographer, with the perfect expression from Santa.

    We love this photo, and of course you can see the love they have for Santa in the latest photo.

    To the people who suggested anything to do with improper behavior or bad parenting – how dare you.

    To the 99.999% of your readers who enjoyed this classic pic, Merry Chistmas and lots of love from Misty & Riley xx

  • Reply December 23, 2012

    Wendy Harmer

    Thanks darling! And sorry you didn’t get to the article amid all the drama surrounding Hurricane Sandy.
    Hoping Santa can find the girls ths year, bro Wxx

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