Maybe your child adores Santa Claus and has loved taking pictures with him since infancy. If so, this piece is not for you. It’s for the rest of us: the optimists, the believers—each year we take our kids to see Santa, hopeful we’ll snap the perfect shot, only to return home with blurry images easily mistaken for a military torture facility in the Land of Oz.

I’ve thought about why the big man terrifies my son, and I think I understand how just the sight of fur-trimmed red velvet makes my toddler cling to my legs.

1. The coat. We live in Houston, which is essentially one block away from the gates of hell—it’s hot here. Always hot. So, why is this large man wearing an enormous coat in swampy 90-degree weather?

2. The diet. We tell our kids cookies and candy are treats for special occasions, yet this grown adult man lives off of sugary treats and milk. I’m pretty sure Grandma Claus would not approve.

3. The jolliness. When kids go to meet Santa, they likely have to stand in line and watch Santa interact with the other victims children. And they probably notice: He. Is. Always. Jolly. Who has the energy to be that happy all the time? No one.

4. The beard. What are you trying to hide, Santa? And do they not have razors at the North Pole?

5. The …. Remember the viral “Bed Intruders” song from several years ago? (“He’s climbin’ in your windows, he’s snatchin’ yo people up.”) This is literally what we tell our kids Santa does. Minus the snatching. I’m proud my child recognizes it’s not normal for an elderly man to sneak into your home at night and eat your favorite snacks.

Carrie Taylor is a Houston-based freelance writer and mother of two boys.

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