It's cool to meet the mall Santa when you're 6-years-old ... but we think it might be a tad embarrassing when you're 16. But for the Sedlak siblings, it was a small price to pay in exchange for making their mother happy year after year.
And it's a tradition that's continued for 50 straight years. Yes, 50. You read that right.
The family now has photos to commemorate every single Christmas they've had together, posing with Santa.
"As a new mom in my early 20s, and always liking Christmas, the normal thing was to take him to meet Santa," Carolyn Sedlak, 74, told The Huffington Post, of her oldest son, Frank. "He was 11 months the first time. Then next year, when my daughter came along, it was a progression. After about 10 years, it was like 'We need to keep doing this!' But I was never thinking that it was going to get this far."
Carolyn joked that some family members thought she was a "terrible mother" for taking her teenage kids to see Santa, but she says it was always something the kids wanted to do for her.
"It has always been about my mom," Frank Sedlak, 50, told The Huffington Post. "There was never any kicking and screaming! Of course I took my fair share of crap, but it was also me being a nice big brother. Plus, the little elves helping out were the same age as me at the time, so it gave me an opportunity to flirt with some ladies!"
Even after they moved out, the siblings coordinated an annual photo with Santa, without even needing a reminder from their mother. In the next week, Frank, will get together with his sisters, Lisa and Kari, to take their 50th photo.
Carolyn hangs up all the photos every year with the other Christmas decorations, and says they've always been lucky enough to be able to share the holiday as a family.
"I always enjoy looking at the photos and putting them up but this year was so overwhelming to me," Carolyn said. "I was crying, which I normally don't do and then I texted each one of them and said 'Thanks for putting up with me for the past 50 years!' It's really neat they went along with the game plan [as they were] turning into adults. It never ever entered my mind when this started that it would go on for 50 years."
Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all!
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