Phaedra Parks feels like Santa arrived earlier this year, because he's already given her kids a gift ... they won't have to go to prison this year to visit their dad.
Phaedra's uneasy that the kids have been visiting their father, her estranged husband Apollo Nida who's doing hard time.
We're told Apollo's been moved to a new facility and the kids -- 2 year-old Dylan and 5-year-old Ayden -- haven't been approved for visitation, and that's not expected to happen until after the holidays.
The kids have been video chatting with their dad everyday and they sent him an Xmas care package, but we're told Phaedra is relieved they haven't been approved yet because she thinks the kids are too young to handle visits to prison.
Apollo's serving an 8 year sentence for bank fraud.