One who has not worn the suit, hat, and fat suit may assume that there is not much to being a mall Santa. It is just talking to kids, taking photos, icing your knees, and repeat. However, if you were actually ask a veteran who has played Santa, in malls or at other holiday functions, they will tell you that there are no two days alike while on the job.
Former helpers of Santa took to Reddit to share their most memorable day on the job. Some are tales of Christmas cheer. Some are tales of Christmas fear. All will make you make you never look at Santa the same way again.
There Is A Reason Santa Doesn’t Put Adults On His List
“When I was 17, I worked for a K-Mart. I volunteered to be the store’s Santa, mostly because it meant I could spend the 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. I asked what they wanted for Christmas, snapped a photo, and done. Every once and while I would get kids screaming bloody murder while their parents forced them to take a picture with Santa. I was that screaming kid once, so it never really bothered me.
Adults made it 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.’
I, being 17 years old and having no freaking idea what to say, just said, ‘Uhhh, OK!'”
Santa Worked A Christmas Miracle
“One year, my son kind of flustered a Santa, who was clearly a young guy in a fat suit. Poor kid.
My youngest, Katherine, has a lot of complicated medical issues. The first year of her life, she was completely blind. She had Hydrocephalus at birth, which caused some brain damage. One 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.
‘Uh, little guy,’ he was finally able to say, ‘Santa will try, OK? 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.
‘That’s OK,’ he replied. ‘You can bring me Ninja Turtles instead if Katherine’s eyes can’t get fixed.’
Poor Santa. The neat thing was, though, 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!'”
This Santa Made Sure A Boy Got His Wish
“A boy came up to me and asked for a boyfriend for his mom that did not hit her. The boyfriend was with the mother outside the workshop display at a store. The boy started to cry. I got up and handed the kid to an assistant.
‘Christmas is coming early, kiddo,’ I said to the boy.
I beat that imbecile within an inch of his life and told him to stay away from the child’s mother. The ‘pretty boy’ soiled himself during the beating. As they were breaking up the fight, I looked at the mother.
‘No kid should ever have to ask Santa for a boyfriend for his mom that doesn’t beat her,’ I said to the mother.
I did six months for that kid. Given the chance, I’d do it again. I was given 2 years, but paroled early. I got out and went to work in sheet metal and retired. Nowadays, they do background checks for Santas. My days as a Santa are long over.
The kid from that day called me years later after tracking me down. Apparently, Santa delivered. One of the arresting officers ended up being ‘the best dad and present a kid could ask for.’
Doing what is right in life does not mean you get off the hook for the price you pay for doing what is right. It just means that you sleep a little easier while in a cell. I have gotten an invite from them every Christmas since.”
No Christmas Cheer
“I was working in a Bar/Restaurant at the time, and there was going to be a huge Santa Parade down the main street so the boss wanted someone to dress up as Santa and hand out drinks vouchers to all the parents just to drum up some business. I got volunteered.
So there I was in the main square, dressed as Santa, doing my best ho-ho-ho and handing out drink vouchers to bewildered parents and lollies to the kids. I probably looked a little… snowed-under, if you catch my drift, seeing as I was a hospitality worker and this was about 3 pm on a Sunday – dark circles under my eyes and all that, probably a mild case of the shakes.
Anyway, I don’t think my Santa disguise was exactly perfect – there were some older kids, maybe young teenagers who were hanging around me asking for lollies and stuff and they kept going to shake my hand and stuff, so I was habitually giving them gangster shakes – Michael Weston I am not (I’m also as white as triangular sandwiches but again, worked in hospitality). Young kids and parents were loving it though.
Eventually, some sour-faced old witch rolls up to me on a Segway. She was seriously livid that there is an unauthorized Santa in the square and decides to confront me about it. ‘What are you doing here?’ In front of all the kids.
‘Ohhhh… (ho ho) I’m just here to give all these good boys and girls some lollies… before the parade… (hohoho).’
‘Well you have to clear out. The parade will be here any minute and you can’t be here when the other Santa gets here, otherwise the kids will…’ and then she realized that she’d messed up, but also that it was still my fault somehow. The clincher was that some adorable little kid with the sweetest little voice just pipes up over the silence: ‘The uvver Santa? Wh… who’s the weal Santa?’
Witchface McSegwayJerk just glares daggers at me and I threw all the remaining lollies and drink vouchers in the air like some kind of Festive Batman and gapped it back to the bar for a Christmas Guinness.”
A Moment That Still Haunts Santa To This Day
“I was an elementary school Santa for three years. This experience still haunts me.
I had a long morning of little tykes with retail advertising dreams of all kinds – shiny new ‘must have’ toys, older boys with dreams of motorized vehicles, and older girls with dreams of ‘cute boys,’ makeup, and clothes. After a break to ‘feed the reindeer’ (those costumes are HOT), I returned to a busy classroom filled with kids working at all the activities and having fun. Then, after another hour of the usual, I met two little children dressed in their best Sunday clothes.
Each of them perched on my knee, looked deep into my eyes, and asked, quietly, from the depths of their hearts, ‘Please Santa. I don’t want any toys. I don’t want anything. I just want my baby sister to get better.’
Suddenly, I knew who they were. Their 7-year-old sister was dying of cancer at the local children’s hospital. We had already done a school fundraiser for her and her family. Our Scout troop had raked leaves at their house and helped them with their Thanksgiving dinner. It took everything I had to not weep.
I hugged each child close in turn, gave them their candy canes, and told them that it was not up to Santa, but I would do my best to put in a good word with the guy upstairs. I told them to remember that everybody loved them too, that it was OK to have fun for themselves, and that I would do what I could to make sure they had some presents. They each smiled a little bit in turn and went to hug each other and their grandmother. I could see the smile through the pain in her eyes and she led them to other activities.
I called a break to ‘check on Rudolph on the roof’ and walked as rapidly as I could to the teacher’s lounge. There, I wept quietly for the little girl, her family, and the unselfish love of little children. Then, I put on the suit and went back to work with a broken heart.
She died two days after Christmas. We planted a butterfly garden at the school in her name, just outside the office window. It’s a pretty place with a shaded bench and brilliant flowers. The butterflies come there in the summer and dance.”
This Little Girl Was So Offended Santa “Forgot” What She Asked For
“I went to college in a very tiny town where everyone knew everyone. Each December, my department put on a winter/Christmas festival in which we would all dress as elves and one guy was Santa. There were crafts and games and a chance to write a letter to Santa. Of course, Santa himself was there for kids to see.
I was elfin’ it up, hanging out with Santa, when I put a cutie patootie on his lap. When Santa asked her what she wanted for Christmas, she responded rather loudly, ‘I TOLD YOU YESTERDAY AT THE MALL!’
Then, she hopped off his lap and stomped away like it was the biggest waste of her precious time.”
Santa Was The Naughty One This Year
“I was an elf for the Santa set at the local mall. We had a pretty easy going Santa until about two weeks into the season. I remember going to the candy basket to hand a 2-year-old a piece of candy because she was too scared to come and see Santa.
Well, this did not sit well with Santa. Next thing I know, the candy basket went flying across the Santa set. Santa started spewing about how it was, apparently, ‘his effing job to hand out candy.’
Then, security came.
Plot twist: the manager was literally Mrs. Claus. She was married to the man dressed as Santa. She told security that it was all my fault and that he did not chuck the basket. After work, I told security that he freaked out and what the real story was. Needless to say, Santa was fired the next day.”
There Was Not A Dry Eye In Santa’s Grotto That Day
“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-headed guy from Kent named Paul. He was a really nice chap – popular with the ladies, smooth talker, slick accent. He stood out a lot in Belfast, where he lived.
When 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. He put on this deep, booming voice that completely masked the accent.
The day of the party went really well. We had jugglers, magicians, a miniature 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. A teacher hid behind the wall and she identified each child as they came in.
We had hand-picked each toy to the child depending on their disability or special need. Then, we placed that toy into the sack and whispered the name of the child to Paul via an in-ear headphone we had hidden under the hair and beard. That way, when the child entered, he would seem all-knowing. The children were in amazement at this. It added to the magic.
One child named Patrick came in who was around 7 or 8, but his disability made him very small in stature so he looked about 4 years old. 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.
‘Why hello, Patrick!’ Santa (Paul) said to the child as he came into the grotto. ‘Nice to see you again!’
“You know my name!’ Patrick exclaimed, as his eyes lit up. ‘You’re the real one!?’
‘Indeed I am!’ Santa replied. ‘I came here to make sure you are being a good boy! Have you decided what you want for Christmas?’
‘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 that 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. 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 6′ 2″, muscle-bound east-ender from London, was found crying in the charity office when he left to get changed.”
This Kid Put Santa On Trial
“I worked as a mall Santa in high school and likely experienced every crazy story you could imagine. 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 toward 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 around 75% of the kids in line. When I got around to asking him what he wanted for Christmas, his eyes locked onto mine.
‘If you’re real, then aren’t you supposed to know?’ he asked.
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 could not 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. Suddenly, the mother dropped her bags and started furiously jumping, punching, and kicking the air. 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. It was worth it.”
“The Look On Her Face Told Me She Didn’t Get What She Wanted”
“I was a ‘real Santa’ who visits families during Christmas Eve in Finland and gives presents that the family bought for the kids. The Santa service was operated by our scouts club. All the Santas were quite young. I was 14. It was my first Christmas as ‘Scout Santa.’
One place I visited was an apartment with a single mother who had two kids – a boy and a girl. When I was sitting there in the house, the mom wanted to take pictures with kids sitting on my knee. Then the girl asked me loud and clear, ‘Will you be our father?’
I only could explain that Santa had to take care of the elves and so on. The sad look on girl’s face told me that she didn’t get the present she wanted.”
A Naughty Pest Got On Santa’s Last Nerve
“In my junior year of high school, my sign language teacher asked me and my friend if one of us would be willing to be ‘Deaf Santa’ for a group of children at a nearby church. He couldn’t, but I said I would.
I am pretty tall and weighed around 150 pounds at the time. I looked ridiculous, stuffing the suit with pillows to look as close to Santa as possible. It was so disproportionate.
I could sign pretty well, though my comprehension was pretty slow. I worked through it. I didn’t have to do much. Kids came up and sat on my lap. I asked them what their name was, if they had been good, the works. Then, one of the adults would hand me the child’s gift. I would give it to them, take a quick picture, and move on.
Those kids were probably the nicest I have ever seen. No one complained or threw a fit. They were all just happy to have a Santa they could talk to and could talk to them. I almost cried just sitting there with them.
There was this one little pest, though. He was the brother of one of the kids. Halfway through, he decided to call out ‘Hey, Santa!’ Being someone who could hear, I instinctively looked up. The little brat started going around making a huge deal that ‘Santa’s not really deaf. He’s fake. Blah blah blah!’
That freaked me out a bit. I had to quickly tell the kids that I wasn’t deaf, but I had learned sign language because how else was I supposed to know who they were and what they wanted, or if they’d been naughty or nice if I couldn’t talk with them? That shut the kid up, but I still felt pretty bad for him messing up my whole ‘Deaf Santa’ character.
All in all, the event went well. It was still one of the most memorable nights of my life.”
That Kid Ruined So Many Christmases That Year
“My grandmother took me to the mall to see Santa. When my time ended with Santa, I gave him a hug and saw that his beard had velcro on the back of it.
‘Why do you have velcro on your beard Santa?’ I yelled out, in front of the whole line.
Santa said that he did not have velcro on his beard. I ripped it off to prove it. Every other kid in line saw it too. We quickly left after that, but I remember a bunch of wide-eyed kids with their jaws dropped looking at their parents.
In the car on the way home, my grandma’s excuse was that Santa simply cannot be everywhere at once, so he has helpers who act like Santa in malls. I never believed in Santa anyway.”
This Young Woman Asked The Same Heartbreaking Request Every Year
“I have been playing Santa for a few years now at a tree farm with a cabin in it. The most heart-wrenching story I have is not mine, but from the other Santa whom I work with.
There was an older woman in her mid-20s who was mentally handicapped. When she sat on Santa’s lap, she got really quiet. It took him asking her what she wanted for Christmas several times before she spoke up.
‘Santa, my mommy is dying and I need one more year with mommy,’ she said. ‘Santa, please give mommy one more year.’
Before he could say anything, she threw her arms around him and gave him a hug while she started crying. Her caretaker, who might have been her father, then led her away.
The next Christmas she came back to the farm and was very excited to see Santa. Her mother had lived for another year. She sat on Santa’s knee and asked him for another year. She said she believed in him and that she had been very good the whole year through. She had been careful to be good and came to Santa again because she wanted her mommy to live for another year, just like last year.
‘Santa, just one more year,’ she pleaded. ‘Please, Santa. Just one more year.’
Again, before he could say anything, she gave him a near strangling hug and then was led away by her caretaker.
The next year, she was back, but she was obviously very upset. She sat again on Santa’s knee, looked at him, and started to sob. She said she knew Santa had tried his hardest, that he did the best he could, and that she should have asked for ten years the first time instead of just the one. She apologized for being so angry at Santa for letting her mommy die.
This Santa looked at her and gave her a long hug.
‘My child,’ he said to her, ‘your mommy has passed away, but she will live forever in your heart as long you remember her.’
She got really quiet and stopped crying and looked at him.
‘I love you mommy. I love you Santa,’ she whispered.
She hugged him very tightly and then was led away by her caretaker. She has not been back since, but my co-Santa said to me that it was moments and people like her that make being Santa so important to him and why he will never quit.”
His Little Brother’s Question To Santa Made Him Question His Philosophy Of Christmas
“My family played along with the Santa thing when my brother and I were really young. By the time I was 6, I had figured out my father was Santa. It actually made the whole idea much more meaningful to me because we didn’t have a lot of money.
One year, my mother took us to the mall to see Santa. I let my brother go first because he still believed in Santa. As my brother silently told him what he wanted, Santa laughed heartily. When it was my turn, I asked him why he was laughing and what my brother had asked him. My brother asked Santa to make me believe in him again.
I felt pretty bad about it as if I had disappointed him and failed as a big brother. I had tried to tell my brother before that our father was Santa, in the sense that the gifts were from him. He took that as Santa was my dad, as in my father was the fat guy himself, just working in the army in the off-season.
Frustrated, I had to explain to him that there was not a Santa, but he didn’t understand or wouldn’t believe me.”
Santa Does Not Make What This Boy Asked For
“My grandfather, who lives in a small town near Montreal, was a mall Santa. It was at the Eaton Center, a massive mall with a train station right near it in downtown Montreal.
A large family, that he assumed had just gotten off the train, walked by him. A small child who was with the family started excitedly squealing and pointing at him to sit on his lap and tell him his wishes. The family stood by while the young boy got on his lap and started speaking in a different language that my grandpa couldn’t understand. A kid from the family who looked around 17 translated for the young boy.
Long story short, the little kid, who could not have been older than 5 or 6, explicitly asked for a teddy bear with a camera in the eye and an AK-47. My grandpa had to just sit there and say, ‘Maybe if you’re an extra good little boy, Santa can grant your wish.’
Nope. Just nope.”