People From Around The World Share Their Mall Santa Stories

People From Around The World Share Their Mall Santa Stories

Mall Santas drink for a reason. Awkward questions, thirsty moms, and 8 hours trapped in a hot red suit and hat. It's a rough gig when you think about it. Here are the best mall Santa stories from all around the world. Some are told by mall Santas themselves, others are told by (former kids), and others are told by parents. All paint a picture of what it's like to work with children around the most magical time of year.

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56. This kid has very specific needs

I'm not a mall Santa, just a mom. This year my child asked Santa for a white thing, a wind-up doll of a kid in his class, a statue of flowers, and an eye.

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55. Reindeer on the naughty list

Cute kid:"If any of the reindeer have been bad, can you leave them on the roof so that we can have reindeer?" A local news reporter nearly lost his job over that because he was covering it live and couldn't stop laughing.

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54. The real gift here was to the turkeys

The first time I was brought to a mall Santa, I believe I was like 2 or 3 years old, apparently I said "pork chops" when he asked me what I wanted for Christmas.

After that, pork chops were Christmas dinner for every single year without fail.

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53. Oooh, what a twist

My mom, when she was little, used to visit a mall Santa every year and tell Santa how much she hated her dad, because he wouldn't let her have Christmas like all the other kids because she was Jewish.

About 15 years later, my mom finds out that the mall Santa who's lap she sat on all those years was her dad.

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52. Stewie Griffin, is that you?

When I was 7, I asked Santa for the sharpest knife he could find. When asked why, I told him I needed a knife sharp enough to cut an atom so I could blow up Washington D.C. (I lived about 10 miles away). He then took 5 minutes to explain to me how I would actually need a high-powered laser, and not a knife, then he told me he would ask his elves to build me one.

I never once saw that laser, even though I was a very good boy. Screw you Santa.

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51. That's what big sisters are for

When I was six my big sister spent weeks carefully coaching me to say, "Santa, all I want for Christmas is a cure for my contagious hemorrhoids, which are on my butt and now on your lap."

I had no idea what it meant, but I said it perfectly -- Santa looked like he wanted to end me.

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50. "I want daddy to go away"

My ex's dad owned a restaurant and I worked there part-time in my late teens so I witnessed this. Christmas Eve was usually really busy, so to earn more money his wife came up with the idea to pretend to be Santa for a few hours on Christmas Eve and charge something like $2 per kid.

This one dad came up to my ex's dad (my ex's dad was Santa) and paid the money for his kid and then went to the toilet with his other child (a baby) leaving the kid with "Santa."

"Santa" asked the kid what he wanted for Christmas, and apparently the kid whispered into his ear, "I want daddy to go away." He asked the kid to explain why, and apparently the dad... well, let's just say he had a temper.

"Santa" then asked the kid for his address, and told my ex (who worked in the kitchen) to call the police. I think some police went to the house, and then some turned up at the restaurant to arrest the dad.

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49. Cover up for Christmas

Years ago, I was in line with my 6-year-old nephew for his visit with Santa. When Santa asked my nephew what he wanted for Christmas, he said, "Could you get Mommy and Daddy some pyjamas? Because they don't wear any..." The whole line broke up, including Santa.

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48. It's a lot easier when they want Barbies

I'm Santa at parties and wandering around the neighborhood. The toughest was having a little girl who wanted her father home from prison. That was awkward and I had to promise her that although some presents take several years to get, they are the most worth it when it happens. Added the usual assurance that her daddy missed her and loved her. It's a lot easier when they want Barbies.

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47. You might need that later, kid

I worked as an elf when I was 15. One kid asked for a new liver. Apparently he was healthy, just wanted one "to play with and stuff." Everyone thought that was just hilarious.

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46. Two can play at that game

Teenagers like to sit on your lap and try to 'shock' you (which probably works with many Santas but I was pretty young when I did the job). One evening this rocker girl came in with her friends and sat on my lap and when I asked her what she wanted for Xmas, she said, "Kurt Cobain's body."

So I put on this guilty act and replied, "Oh, I still feel really bad about that 'cause I gave him the gun."

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45. This girl is not down for santa

Former mall Santa here. I even bought a professional suit because I hated the one they provided. I got a few creepy stories that involve college students and adults.

Kids: A little girl no more than 5 was screaming when it was her turn. Kids get scared of Santa, not that uncommon. Her dolled up mom was having none of her child's tantrum and the Elves were pleading with her to not put the girl on my lap. She did and at her kid instantly stopped screaming. She just had this look of pure hatred at her mom for the remainder of the photo session.

I swear, I thought I was on Candid Camera (before YouTube, y'all) it looked so acted out. Attempting to talk to the little terror, I asked her what she wanted for Christmas, she looked at me and softly said just above a whisper, "for my Mommy to die." NOPED myself to a break after that one. It was the inside joke for the rest of the mall Santa season, (whispering between kids) "I want you to die!!!!"

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44. Making the naughty list

I was Santa for corporate holiday parties one year. I was in my 30s but used a spray for my beard. Looked lifelike, Kids dug it, so did one mom/aunt who threw a kid off my lap (hers, I hope) and whispered that she wanted Santa to "take [her] her from behind while pulling her hair." She didn't seem to be under the influence. I was very uncomfortable... Then the meeting planner told me she does that every year.

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43. That poor santa

Not a Santa, but I remember being in hospitals a lot as a kid with serious stomach issues. I remember asking a mall Santa if I could "get better and not die" once when I was about eight or nine years old. When the mall Santa looked at me sadly and said he couldn't do that, almost in tears, I asked if my old dog that died as a puppy could be brought back as a zombie so "we could both be dead together" and if I could "come back as a zombie too so I could stay with my parents so they wouldn't be sad."

Looking back, that was really creepy and I think I broke the poor guy's heart.

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42. Who 'settles' for a giant squid?

Worked as a photographer for a mall Santa. It's not that weird, but my favorite moment was when a kid asked for a live octopus or shark. Santa said he wasn't sure if his elves would be able to make those. The kid said he'd settle for a giant squid if he had to.

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41. When the saint comes marching in

Once while I was working an Indian couple asked me to bless their newborn baby. I think they might have taken the name SAINT Nick a tad too literally. That was weird/awkward. Other than that it was '98 or '99 so I learned the names and traits of just about every Pokemon out there.

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40. The girl who stole North Dakota

I am not Santa, but I think I probably asked for the strangest thing when I was a little girl. I still lived in Florida at the time, so I couldn't have been older than five. Every year I'd put on my fanciest dress, and my parents would take us to the country club for brunch where we would meet Santa.

I climbed up on his lap, following all the other kids who asked for the newest Barbie, or a pony, looked up into his eyes and told him what I had been very good. So good, in fact, that I deserved what I wanted more than anything.

"North Dakota."

Not South Dakota. Not both Dakotas. Just North Dakota. Why? No idea. I had never been there. I knew nothing about it. It was my favorite state on the map, though. Maybe because it was pink. Maybe because it was nearly perfectly rectangular. All I know for sure is that there was nothing I wanted more than to own North Dakota.

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39. Santa ain't no rebel

I was a mall Santa once in college. I'm from the Northeast US and college was in the deep South. My elves were girls from a local business school who were running the mall Santa thing as a senior project.

The best thing that happened was when a bunch of the elves' friends showed up and whispered some very unladylike things in Santa's ears, just to see how red they could make Santa's cheeks.

The funniest was one little kid who, after I had been chatting with him for a while, looked at me wide-eyed and said, "Santa, you sound like a Yankee!" After a few seconds of frantic desperation, I simply told him, "Well, that's because I live at the NORTH Pole." He found the logic inescapable, plus me promising him a football helped.

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38. Being a mall Santa is not for the faint of heart

My buddy worked as a mall santa and quit after one day.

He enjoyed two kids punching him in the balls, one baby vomiting on his chest, and one kid peeing his pants while sitting in his lap. It soaked through and he felt it, warm and wet on his thigh.

But he did get the joy of swearing profusely and rage quitting while wearing a santa suit. So it wasn't a total loss.

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37. Just kicking it

Not a mall Santa but I was the “Best Buy Box” for a number of Holiday seasons in the early 2000s. One year we set up a chair where you could take a picture with me. Soon it turned into people just telling me what they wanted for Christmas. Sometimes I’d have a stack of $5 gift cards and I’d give them out randomly.

One kid sits down and says he wants to kick me in the crotch. The suit was heavily padded and there was a good 10 inches or so from the bottom of the box to my love spuds. Being 19 and wanting to put on a good show, I said sure. Kid winds up and musters the best kick he had. I played it up even though he actually hit my thigh. I remember everyone thinking it was so funny.

I loved the early Holiday seasons working there. Some of my best memories came from those times. We had a fantastic management team who were like family. Then it all changed and everything went sour. Such is life, I guess.


36. Mission: Implausible

A friend and I went to ZooLights a few years ago, where the zoo opens at night lit up with Christmas lights, and you can buy hot chocolate and Baileys or apple cider and spirits and walk around listening to music with the animals. Of course we stood in line to get our picture with Santa.

When our turn came he pulled us in and whispered, "I have had three kids tonight ask me if I can get their dads a job for Christmas. The world is messed up, and you young guys have to do something about it."

Whenever I make a big decision, I still think about whether I'm being true to my mission from Santa.


35. Warm tidings for the season

I used to be a mall Santa. The funniest was definitely the kid who wanted to pee.

Same old introduction as always, asking what she wants for Christmas.

"I wanna pee!"

Trying to change the topic to help the kid choose, get the picture taken, and move on.

"I wanna pee!"

The parents insist that the kid choose something and I sit there awkwardly with this little girl wriggling all over me. She's crying and they're insisting and then my lap gets warm.

Just why.

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34. Oh, you want coal do you?

I suppose I'm a little late to this thread, but I play Santa for a work party every year.

Had an older kid (pre-teen?) come up to me who was totally over the Santa business; he was only there because his parents wanted the picture. When I asked him what he wanted, he flatly said "coal". Being a jovial spirit, I followed up with "bituminous or anthracite?" Absolutely threw him for a loop.

Had a super cute little girl come up to me who was so shy she just stood clutching her mom's leg for most of it (I don't mind - I don't want to get nervously peed on). Went through the normal stuff ("have you been good?" etc.) and she finally told me what she wanted: a candy cane. Well, guess what Santa gives to every kid who comes to see him. Holy crap you've never seen someone so excited to have a wish fulfilled immediately.

After I do the work event, I go drinking with friends (because what's funner than drinking with Santa? Also, lots of free drinks). I'm at a bar waiting in line for the bathroom when this absolutely hammered lady comes up to me and implores me to make her boyfriend propose to her. That was definitely a "holy cow lady, I'm just a guy in costume" moment.

Other than that, it's the usual stuff, though some kids can be incredibly specific (e.g. a to-scale wooden replica of the HMS Victory that they could build, an hour glass/sand timer X big with three dark oaken supports).

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33. Santa gets revenge

My dad looks like Santa. We were in a airport in august and a couple of yuppies sent their kid up to him to ask if he was santa. He of course said he was and asked what the kid wanted for chistmas. Put on the spot the kid froze so my dad asked him if he wanted about a thousand dollars worth of gifts. Which the kid was all right with. He then promised he would have them on Christmas morning. His wink at the horrified parents was the best. My dad's kind of a jerk.

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32. Trainee Santa makes a new friend

A few years back I filled in for Santa at a locally owned toy store - as I don't QUITE look old enough to be Santa (and I have a full lush gingery lumberjack beard) I was billed as "Nick Jr" and the story was that my dad was Santa and I was in training to be the next Santa - he was having me go and fill in for him at some of the usual stops as part of my training in getting to talk to the little kids.

Oh man, the kids loved that. There was a rocking chair that I was "supposed" to sit in, but I sat on the floor with the kids and chatted and it was friggin' AWESOME. The kids really connected with this idea of a "trainee Santa"

The most heart-wenching story was a little girl, about 7 or so, who was staying with her dad and stepmom because her mommy was deathly ill in the hospital. She came and saw me every day that I was there and she just wanted to talk to someone she KNEW could really understand where she was coming from in her fear. She hoped that she could come visit the North Pole, but understood if it wasn't possible.

My last day of the gig she brought me a handwritten-in-crayon note thanking me for everything, saying she was glad to have met me and hoping that I grew up to be the best Santa ever. Lemme tell ya, all the feels. I am going to keep that bloody note forever.

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31. Maybe he's Scandinavian

I wasn’t a mall Santa, but I played one of his elves. I think the worst thing a kid ever asked for was some reindeer sausage. He figured Santa could slaughter one of his reindeer for the venison.

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30. Nothing like toddler mispronunciations

Again, im not a mall Santa but have a related story. My nephew is 4 years old and obsessed with trucks. Except he calls them "f...s."He runs up, jumps into Santa's lap and says I want "wots of f...s!" Santa kept his composure and knew he meant trucks but it was still hilarious.

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29. Goody two-shoes

Not a Santa but a fun story. My stepson was getting near the age where you question the existence of Santa, I think 8. So he came up with a plan.

He told Santa all he wanted was a new pair of shoes. Now the sneakers he was wearing were worn out. Not because we couldn't afford new one, he just loved those shoes, he refused new ones, broken in and comfy. Because he had refused new ones we stopped asking. So he knew if he asked Santa for new shoes and got them... Santa must be real.

As luck would have it he conveyed his scheme to his older cousin who then schemed to assure she could keep Santa alive for at least one more year. She told us.

The look on his face when he opened his new shoes was priceless.

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28. This one is sad, but it has a happy ending

At 19 (yes, I know) I was pressed into service as a Santa (helper) at several Walmarts across Indiana. I had some liquid stuff applied around my eyes to give me temporary wrinkles.

Richmond, Indiana was especially down in the early '90's. Brother and sister, roughly 10 and 6, came and crawled on my lap. Their faces were dirty, and they were wearing t-shirts even though it was about 25 F outside.

The girl asked for a Barbie and a crib for a dolly. Her brother then looked at me with the toughest face I've ever seen. Not angry, but as though he were mustering everything in him to do this. He asked me if I would bring his sister a coat for Christmas.

Duuuude. I couldn't break character as there were others in line. The merchandising manager who was assisting as my elf then slipped behind the backdrop, and I could hear her start to cry as quietly as she could. I told them I would do everything I could to make sure their wishes came true this year, and handed them back to their father.

Within a minute, the merchandising lady was out of her costume and back at girls' outerwear buying a coat for the girl. She later told me that there was no way she could let that wish not happen.

And that is about the coolest freakin' thing I've ever been a part of.

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27. On the (gingerbread) house

My aunt was struggling with presents for Christmas because she was layed off and all her son wanted to do was see Santa. He, who was about 7 at the time, looked up to Santa with his big blue eyes and said, "All I want for Christmas is this picture of me and you to be free for my Mommy so she can buy more presents." The Santa made sure she wasn't charged.

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26. This is my brother, Simba

My 2.5 year old sister asked for a baby sister, not knowing that my mom was already pregnant. Mom was within earshot so Santa looked at her for a hint of how he should reply. She nodded yes but mouthed 'boy'. Santa told my sister that he was out of baby girls this year, would a little brother be okay? Heck no, it was not okay! My sister cried for DAYS. And that's how she got the privilege of naming my baby brother. After debating between Simba and Tramp someone thankfully talked her into Matthew.

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25. A piece of Santa's sleigh

So, I was a bright kid, never really believed in Santa. But from five to seven, I did. I really did because the mall Santa 'proved' it.

See, I thought I was being clever. I asked for a 'bell off of Santa's sleigh'. Kinda like the kid in the movie about the train. That Christmas, I received a beautiful, solid enclosed bell, worn and faded and battered, tied with a strip of abused leather. Where would my parents have gotten such an authentic looking bell? It's obviously been around the world - Santa exists!

When I was twelve, I remembered this - (I still have the bell) - and asked my mother about it. She told me that the mall Santa took her aside and gave her a bell off of the prop sleigh, telling her that I was sweet and to put the bell under the tree for me.

Thank you, Mall Santa. You really made my Christmas.

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24. "I think Santa misheard you, did you say you wanted counseling?"

My friend was a mall Santa and one day he was sick so he had me fill in. Honestly there are a lot of kids asking for weird things, but this one kid looked me in the eye and asked for "a bushel of dead squirrels". He was probably six years old. Don't even know how he knew the word bushel.

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23. "I asked Santa for my parents to do it"

On the flip side of this, when I was around 6, my mom miscarried during the third trimester. It was pretty traumatic and I asked Santa for another sister. My dad laughed but my mom is pretty sappy and cried for a while. My mom got pregnant not too long after that.

And I just realized that I asked Santa for my parents to do it. Cool.

I asked my mom about it years, and she said that my dad was laughing because Santa had made really awkward eye contact with my dad.

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22. Santa always comes through -- even if it takes 10 years

When I was little, I wrote out this massive list that I began before Thanksgiving that year. It was 3 pages, front and back in my messy crooked over-sized cursive. Everything you could imagine an elementary school tomboy would want was on that, from a horse, to a Toontown subscription, to a woodcarving kit (I had/have a wide array of hobbies). This list was glorious, and I was so proud of myself because I had just learned cursive for this occasion.

So, we go to the mall, and after waiting in line for about an hour, I realize that I left my list in the car. I panicked. I wasn't shy or afraid of Santa, but I didn't like talking in front of crowds, even then, and the thought of having to remember what to ask for terrified me.

I started to tell my mom that I wanted to go home, but suddenly it was my turn, and I had no idea what to ask for. So I'm sitting on Santa's lap, looking around at the stores for something in a window I wanted, but all I see are people. Then I notice the giant ten foot tall nutcrackers that acted as the guards of Santa's Village.

I had always liked nutcrackers, I liked things that had mechanics that I could play with, and these were completely white, and covered in sparkles with giant spears of ice. So I pointed at the nutcracker and said "I want that." He chuckled, like a perfect Santa, and said, "I think that's a bit too big to fit down a chimney, but I'll see what I can do."

Christmas morning, I opened my presents and found a few of the things off my original list (turns out my mom stole it) but no nutcracker. I was a little upset, because after that I was really excited to have one of my own that wasn't an antique.

Fast-forward about a decade, when I'm in high school, I open my presents and in the very last one there was a perfect little white nutcracker. My mom said she tried to get it that Christmas ten years before, but she couldn't find a pure white one that fit the description. I couldn't believe she kept searching, every year. It took her ten years to find that nutcracker, and it is still my favorite gift.

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21. "I want to control my parents"

First year mall Santa here. I work near a rather low-end part of town (in the US) and so mostly you hear the same requests over and over (Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Monster High dolls, Furby toys, etc).

Sometimes you get those few kids who are almost too old for Santa that think they are going to be funny by asking for something way out of their age range. Guns, knives and kung-fu lessons seem to be popular...

But the cream of the crop, the King of Epic Troll Kids, had to be this little blonde girl. She was maybe 8 or 9, and obviously was being forced onto my lap just for the picture that her parents wanted.

I asked her, "Hello there, what do you want me to get you for Christmas?" She replied, "I want something where I can control my parents. They just get me stupid gifts every year but I want something good so they will ALWAYS GET ME WHAT I WANT!"

At this point, her mom was like "oh god my little angel is turning into a demon" and got her off of me.

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20. Making it rain on Santa

I might have made a Santa very uncomfortable one time. I think I had just turned 5.

I wanted to help feed the reindeer, I don't know why, I just wanted to help animals I think. I collected some change to do it -- not much, probably about a 30 cents in pennies and nickels. I tried to give them to Santa while I was on his lap but dropped them. They fell onto Santa's lap.

I... I tried to retrieve the coins from Santa's crotch... I touched Santa inappropriately.

All I remember is him saying very quickly and hastily, "Oh, ho, ho! It's fine, I'll get them later, it's okay." While placing me off of his lap, and me being completely oblivious to how uncomfortable he was it until many many years later. I got a candy cane and was sent on my way.

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19. A stab in the dark

When I was in high school, I was active in Future Business Leaders of America and every winter, we host this Christmas Carnival for the elementary kids and their parents. One of my friends dressed up as Santa and I was taking pictures of the kids.

Anyway, he puts one of the little girls on his lap and said, "What do you want for Christmas, little girl?" and she looked him straight in the eye and said "A Barbie doll and a Switchblade knife." Then she hopped down and walked away like it was nothing. We laugh about it now, but it was terrifying then.

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18. Getting fleeced

When I was very young I had an obsession with those fleece blankets because they were fluffy, and I liked to cuddle with fluffy things. I had a bunch of different ones with the tartan plaid on them and I wanted to collect all the different colors I could find.

So I went to the mall Santa and here's little 3 year old me, a skinny brunette, asking for "a blanket." Apparently the Santa had a horribly morose look in his eyes, and my parents quickly got me the heck out of there. I just wanted a new color blanket because I thought they were cool, not because I really needed one to stay warm. I made the Santa feel bad.

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17. The cursed Santa suit

I was the Santa for an office party. It was my first year with the company and apparently the tradition went that the newest guy had to wear the suit. (Also something about how the suit was cursed...)

Anywho, skip forward to the party: I’m going around taking pictures with people I barely knew at the time and then it gets to where presents were being handed out. Now I had sat in the back because the CEO was the one handing out presents (didn’t want to confuse people where the real money was coming from) and minding my own business.

This woman (think mid-40s kinda cougar-y) walks up to me hammered out of her mind and she sits on my lap. Now I’m all for keeping character so I say, “Why hello, what would you like for Christmas?” And she says, without hesitation: “I’d love for my husband to take me from behind while you watch...”


Now, when presented with this opportunity, I maintained composure and politely declined while attempting to get her off my lap. She said, “It’s fine, my husband's good with it, let me get him.” And that’s when she screams out “Pat!” at the top of her lungs. I kid you not, the whole party heard, and turned, to see the new guy... with the CEO’s wife on his lap.

Now remember when I said cursed? Apparently this wasn’t the first time... and others had accepted the offer.

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16. Your mom is technically Mrs. Claus

My dad was a department store Santa in the 50's when he was in high school. A group of giggling teenaged girlfriends came in and were pressuring the redhead to sit on Santa's lap first and tell him what she wanted. She didn't want to, and finally one of the girls just said something like "Junie wants a date with Santa for Christmas!" They all laughed, and he finally agreed meet her for lunch.

What had happened was, my mom (the redhead) had seen my dad working at the store before, and gushed with her friends about how she thought he was SO cute and had pretty blue eyes and dark wavy hair and so on. Well, one of her friends knew he was playing Santa, and got the gaggle of giggling girlfriends together to go to the store with the pretence of shopping. Then they all "decided" go see Santa and they were going to make mom go first. And that's how my dad met my mom!

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15. Starstruck meeting Santa Claus

Every year, I get dressed up as Santa and tour around my town in a horse drawn carriage, stopping at scheduled places to distribute Christmas biscuits to the town's kids. It's a bit of an emotional rollercoaster.

Last year, I had JUST chased off a boy who was trying to set my beard alight, when a little girl of 4 or 5 shyly handed me a little homemade snow globe. She was obviously starstruck to be meeting Santa and her older sister was gently pushing her towards me.

I thought that she just wanted my opinion, so I looked at the snow globe and said that it was very pretty. When I turned to give it back, she had run away into the crowd.

One of my most prized possessions is a home-made snow globe that was given to me by a random little girl. It has pride of place on my desk.

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14. Mall Santa goes the extra mile

My uncle who was a mall Santa all his life once had a spot well decorated with plastic trees, sheets of cotton as snow and wrapped up boxes with bows. At that spot a child came up onto his lap and said he wanted whatever was in a wrapped up box. My uncle then afterwards caught up with the kids father with that very box and said " Whatever you are getting your son for Christmas, make sure it is in this box!" My uncle was a pretty awesome guy.

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13. Made the kid a believer

Heart-wrenching with a twist: I worked as a mall Santa in high school and likely experienced every crazy story you could imagine, but one in particular stands out most vividly in my mind.

A young boy waited quietly with his mother in line until it was his turn to sit in my lap and have his picture taken. As his mother started to follow him up towards my chair, he turned around and yelled, "No! Mommm you have to stay back thereee!" I watched the mom look at him pleadingly and she reluctantly agreed to keep her distance. As I tried to make sense of the situation, I invited him up to my chair.

He looked to be 8 or 9, which was older than most (~75%) of the kids in line. When I got around to asking him what he wanted for Christmas, his eyes locked onto mine and it happened: "If you're real, then aren't you supposed to know?"

As I fumbled around with my words, it dawned on me. Here he was, on the cusp of becoming a non-believer, and his plan was to make sure his mother couldn't whisper to me the gift he had been hoping for. I tried to play it cool, and come up with an explanation on the fly, when suddenly the mother dropped her bags and started jumping, punching, and kicking the air. Furiously! Shoppers stopped dead in their tracks, staring at her (we were at the main intersection of a two-story indoor mall).

I said something along the lines of "well you can't expect me to bring you those Power Rangers if you aren't a good boy and listen to your mother!" He melted, instantly. His eyes grew wide and his jaw dropped. Before I could react he buried his head into my foam padded chest and gave me the best hug all Christmas season.

The mother couldn't believe it herself, and tried to gather herself as her overjoyed son turned to run and explain to her how Santa really is real, and that he had proven it (at least for another year). Worth it.

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12. A happy ending for everyone... except the fish

I have a good Santa story from being a kid. We used to be really poor for a long time, up until my last year of middle school, and until first grade we lived at my grandma's house, who was in a much more fortunate life situation than us.

I have a lot of memories of kids getting better presents than me and being disappointed with Christmas as a child for awhile, but this was probably best Christmas I've ever had.

I used to pray every night for about a year or so (this was when I was 4) for a goldfish. I did it for like 30 minutes every night when I thought everybody else was asleep, and turns out my parents had been listening. So they had hired my neighbor that happened to have the big beard, and all the other characteristics Santa might have, to dress up as Santa and wait in my grandma's house on the couch, holding the bowl of 2 goldfish that my parents had bought me.

We were all coming back from going out on Christmas eve, and my mom let me unlock the door to the house, only to see my boy Santa sitting on my couch with the only thing I wanted as a kid! I was the happiest kid on earth that day.

Alas, my fish died when I accidentally dropped them in the garbage disposal while cleaning my fish bowl like 3 months later.

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11. I want an elephant for Christmas

I once was Santa for the horse club where my mum and sister worked. I’ve agreed on doing it because I thought it would be fun.

I don’t know if it’s the same elsewhere, but people here who do horse riding are usually rich people, so rich families. So these 6 and 7 years old seriously were asking for animals, such as horses (normal) or turtles, one even asked for an elephant. And at the end of the line, one kid asked for a whole zoo. High hopes for him, I said I would but I doubt he got what he wanted.

Ended up ruining the whole “Santa” myth, since when I finished, the children’s were still there and I shouted “MOM, CAN I GO NOW?” to their horse teacher.

Oh, and the scary part there is how these children talked about actually POSSESSING the animal, like a doll or any other toys, and not like actual creatures.

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10. Are you sure it's better than pushing carts?

When I was 17, I worked for a K-Mart and volunteered to be the store's Santa. Mostly because it meant I could spend a majority of my Saturday shift sitting in a chair as opposed to pushing shopping carts.

We would offer free photos inside a little pre-made K-Mart Christmas card. The kids were easy. Ask what they want for Christmas, snap a photo, and done. Every once and while you would get the kids screaming while their parents force them to take a picture with Santa. But I was that screaming kid once so it never really bothered me.

Adults was where it got a little creepy. Since the photos were free the mothers would get in on it as well. Some would just openly hit on me. "Can I have you for Christmas?" The worst was an older woman who looked me in the eyes and said, "I just want the pain to go away, Santa." Me being 17 years old had no freaking idea what to say. "Uhhh, okay!"

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9. Chicks dig Santa

My boyfriend is a Santa for private events, and has been doing it for over 20 years, so he has a BUNCH of stories.

He was doing a private adults-only party, so all of the ladies were being a bit flirty, but nothing crazy. “Santa Baby” started playing and the ladies dragged him onto the dance floor. He shimmies a bit and goes to sit back down when a woman grabs him and starts grinding on him. He tries to get away from her in character (“What will Mama Claus think?”), but she keeps on grinding and starts to moan.

Finally, the hostess notices and gets her away from him, but she kept trying to get to him the rest of the night.

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8. Eyes or Ninja Turtles

I'm not a mall Santa, but I've taken my kids to see one before. Last year, my son kind of flustered a Santa (who was clearly a young guy in a fat suit, poor kid).

My youngest has a lot of complicated medical issues. The first year of her life she was completely blind (she had hyrdrocephalus at birth, caused some brain damage). So last year when my oldest hopped on Santa's lap the first thing he asked him was "Hi Santa, can you help my sister see her presents? Her eyes don't work."

I tried to shush him, but the damage was done. The poor Santa got red in the face and kind of stammered for a second. Finally he was able to say, "Uh, little guy? Santa will try, okay? But please don't be angry if it doesn't work. Santa's specialty is toys, not eyeballs."

My son seemed cool with that response, and went on to say, "That's okay, you can bring me Ninja Turtles instead if Katherine's eyes can't get fixed."

Poor Santa. But the neat thing is, a month or so after Christmas my daughter's vision DID start working. Every once in a while, my son will see her playing with a toy and say "Santa helped her! He remembered to help her eyes!"

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7. So you want to be Sarah Palin?

I was asked to be Santa for a church Christmas dinner last year.

The funniest one was a shy little boy who reluctantly talked to me. He said he wanted Alaska. When I asked what he meant, he told me that he wanted to be the king of Alaska.

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6. Bribing Santa

I am a professional Santa Claus who makes between 50 - 70 visits a year, mostly private homes, tree lightings and the like.

The interesting thing about Santa Claus visits is the difference in motivations between the parents and the children. The children want to ensure I am bringing them what they desire for Christmas; the parents want to ensure that they get a great photo of the children with Santa.

A 6-year-old boy was waiting patiently on line to meet me, when its his turn hops right into my lap. I ask him what he would like for Christmas, he mentions a few of the more popular toys that year, and then hands me a letter. I receive a lot of letters in person (even kids get antsy trusting the USPS to deliver such an important piece of mail). I ask him if he’d been a good boy all year, he smirks, points to the letter and tells me not to worry about it, and marched away.

My curiosity was piqued, so I opened his letter at the end of the gig. In it was a list, a note that said “Dear Santa, thank you for bringing me everything on my list. Love, Anthony” And a picture of Abe Lincoln. The kid bribed me with a $5 bill. I was horrified and quite impressed all at the same time. To this day, I can only imagine what he had done...

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5. Walk a mile in my skin

Wasn't a Santa, but I remember a particularly...creepy, thing that I asked the mall Santa.

For some reason I wanted to BE Santa, I thought it was cool how he went around the world delivering presents, breaking in homes, eating free food, etc, and I was still young so I guess I meant to ask for his costume or something.

What I ended up saying, however, was that I wanted to wear his skin for christmas. Whether he found that as funny as I do now, we'll never know.

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4. Now that's a snack for Santa

I was friends with a guy who was a mall Santa, and up came a big hispanic family. This was near the end of the day, so my friend was running out of small talk to make with the kids.

When the youngest boy of the family came up and sat on his lap, my friend said, "so are you gonna remember to leave out some milk and cookies for me on Christmas eve?"

The boy, confused, said "Milk and cookies? My papa told me Santa likes nachos and Corona."

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3. Being a Santa is a tough gig

I was Santa last year at a pet store and took pictures for 6 hours. It was one of the most miserable days I can remember in a long time.

For one, they don't tell you that wearing a Santa suit is like wearing an ill-fitting suit made of fiberglass insulation. Hot and itchy as anything.

For two, even at a pet store, you've got to play Santa the whole time since a lot of kids come in too. So imagine being in a play where you don't know the lines and it's 6 hours long.

Three, the same people with ill-mannered kids also have ill-mannered pets. Now imagine a family photo with 6 little brats and 4 dogs, one of whom I thought was going to really hurt someone. I'm holding a small kid with one arm and basically choking a small dog by its collar so it won't bite my sleeve anymore.

All the while I too have to smile. Even though I was wearing an overly huge beard over my existing beard (beardception) and you couldn't see literally any of my face the photographer kept saying "smile Santa". I wanted to stab her.

So I can mark that down on my list of 'never doing that again.'

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2. This is why mall Santas are so important to kids

I wasn't a Santa but I helped organize a Christmas Party for special needs children for three years running as part of a charity group.

The guy we picked to be Santa was this really well-built, tall, bald guy from Kent, called Paul. He was a really nice chap though. Popular with the ladies, the gift of the gab and a cockney accent. So he stood out a lot in Belfast where he lived. Anyway, he was picked to be the Santa for the party. He had his doubts but we were convinced his well-built frame and height would be convincing. All we had to do was give him a bit of a belly and a costume and he put on this deep booming voice that completely masked the cockney!

The day of the party went really well. We had jugglers, magicians, a mini disco, games, food and of course a Santa's grotto. We had the Santa's sack prop against a false wall which had a hole in it that would let us plant toys in the sack without any of the children seeing it. As it was all special needs schools we had their names and a teacher hid behind the wall and she identified the child coming in.

We had hand picked each toy to the child depending on their disability or special need. Reached that toy into the sack, whispered the name to Paul (Santa) via an in ear headphone we had hidden on him under the hair and beard. That way when the child entered he could seem all-knowing and the children were in amazement at this. It added to the magic.

Anyway, to the point. One child came in who was around 7 or 8 but his disability made him very small in stature so he looked about 4 years old and he had an oxygen tube under his nose. He also had poor eyesight and his glasses gave him these giant sad looking eyes that melted everyone's heart. He came into the grotto:

Santa: "Why hello Patrick! Nice to see you again!" His eyes lit up and he exclaimed:

Patrick: "You know my name! You're the real one!?"

Santa: "Indeed I am! I came here to make sure you are being a good boy! Have you decided what you want for Christmas?"

Patrick: "Yes, but it's not a present...I...I just want to be at home this year for Christmas!"

I am not afraid to admit, my eyes grew very damp. The girls who volunteered that year immediately broke down but Paul held it together remarkably well. He explained that he couldn't get in the way of doctors and that they knew best and he wanted Patrick to be better so he could visit him on Christmas Eve no matter where he was.

Paul then reached into the bag and lifted out a cuddly toy duck. The child ran around with that duck the rest of the day tucked into his jumper. Stroking its head and kissing it now and again, he beamed a massive smile for the rest of the day.

Paul, a 6ft 2in, muscle-bound east-ender from London, was found crying in the charity office when he left to get changed.

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1. The math teacher who stole Santa's beard

I was a primary school student, aged about 5.

Anyway, my primary school was a village school, so it was small. It had about 150-200 students. One Christmas, they decided to throw a Christmas party for the kids and parents. If you enjoyed hearing the song "diallo" playing on loop with the occasional sound of a parent chiding their kid for drinking the Blue-coloured drinks, then this is your kind of thing.

Towards the end of the night, all the kids were high on food colouring, and it was time to meet "Santa" himself! We queued up patiently to sit on Santa's lap and tell him what we'd like for Christmas. It was my turn.

I sat on his lap and looked at his beard, and noticed that it had a string on it and it was wonky. I was like "You're not Santa! Your beard has a string on it!"

The Santa had a sad look on his face, then he started a convincingly sobbing, "For thousands of years I had a fantastic beard. I don't have a real beard any more because somebody called Mr. Johnson [my math teacher who has a large beard and was very proud of] stole it. I asked him nicely if he could give it back, but he didn't listen. Maybe you and your friends can find Mr Johnson and get my beard back in time for next year?"

I was only 5 so I believed him, so I was furious at Mr. Johnson. The next time we had Math after Christmas, me and most of my class gave him a piece of our minds for stealing Santa's beard. We told him that we would not do our work until he gives Santa his beard back. The kids were furious, and Mr. Johnson was even stricter than usual.

After a few weeks of this, he finally came into school without a beard. Any time we asked him what happened to his beard he would tell us off. We assumed that he had given it back to Santa.

Here's the interesting part that I found out many years later: It turns out that the Santa was actually my English teacher Mr. Brown, and he deliberately made the beard look fake. Why? Because Mr. Johnson was banging Mr. Brown's wife and Santa found out. Because of this, Mr. Brown decided to get as many kids as he could to hate Mr. Johnson. Mr. Brown knew that Mr. Johnson would either have to deal with children who hated him or he would have to shave off his beard that he loved dearly.

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