Christmas is supposed to be a magical time of year, especially for families with little ones. Unfortunately, this is not always the case for everyone. Some families are not so lucky—they have to deal with the harsh realities of life much more than other families. Often times, children who have experienced struggle and hardship look forward to Christmas because they believe the magic of the season can work wonders and improve their current situation, especially if they wish hard enough for it. This puts holiday workers like mall Santas in tricky situations, as they are then left to somehow deal with the awkward requests. People from around the world took to the internet to share the creepiest thing a kid has asked for Christmas, and their stories surely do not disappoint. Perhaps their tales will make you realize just how fortunate you are:
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My ex's dad owned a restaurant and I worked there part-time in my late teens, so I witnessed this. Christmas Eve was always usually 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, who was Santa. He paid the money for his kid and then went to the toilet with his other child. "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 had been abusive to her mom. "Santa" then asked the kid for his address, and told my ex (who worked in the kitchen) to call the authorities. I think some officers went to the house, and then some turned up at the restaurant to arrest the dad. A social worker also came to collect the kids. We never found out what happened to them after that, but it ended up in the local paper and got loads of promotion for the restaurant.
Years ago, I was in line with my six-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 pajamas? Because they don't wear any... " The whole line broke out in laughter, including Santa.
My youngest sister once asked a mall Santa to get rid of me forever. I had walked through the Disney store with her earlier but didn't let her buy anything because neither of us had money and our mother just brought us along while she bought shirts.
I wasn't a Santa but my roommate was. This was at a spot in east Brooklyn, a super impoverished area riddled with a lot of bad stuff. He said it was disturbing how many kids had literally nothing, so they asked for the most basic things. Or they just asked to get out of bad situations. He said stuff like this was common:
"I wish my mom would stop hitting me."
"I wish my brother was still alive."
"I wish we had enough money for a microwave."
Stuff like that was everywhere.
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 kids and college students.
Kids: A little girl no more than five years old was screaming when it was her turn. Kids get scared of Santa, it's 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 anyway and at her kid instantly stopped screaming. I 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 because 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 go away."
College Students: One rather lonely overweight gal kept getting in line several times a week to get pictures with Santa. I was in college myself back then and I'm pretty sure she was working herself up to asking me out. She was extremely shy, awkward, and had some hygiene issues. She only paid for one of the photos but the elves remember seeing her throughout the week when I wasn't on shift. Apparently, she only got pictures with me.
I was a Santa during three college years. The most memorable moment—a sad one—was a young boy who asked if I could bring him a "new Daddy." His father had passed during service and his mom was lonely. I saw the look of sorrow and pain in his pretty mother's face, even as she was trying to make Christmas special for her son.
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 lose my life" 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 passed as a puppy could be brought back as a zombie so "we could both be unalive together" and if I could "come back as a zombie too so I could stay with my parents." Looking back, that was really creepy and I think I broke the poor guy's heart.
I have been Santa for several seasons. I had a special needs woman ( approximate age of 40) ask me to make her boyfriend quit hitting her. I told a lady who was helping me to get the deputy sheriff at the event to come see me. I whispered to him what she had said. He came back 10 minutes later and asked if I would speak to her in a private area. There, the deputy and Santa got a clearer but very disturbing picture of how she had been repeatedly abused. In May, the deputy let me know the offender had been sentenced to eight years and the girl had been relocated to new care facility.
A kid came in and wanted nothing except a Matchbox car. He told me how every week he heard his mom sneak into his bedroom and take the pocket money (that she had given him) to buy drinks for herself. I felt so terrible for him that I gave him three different presents, instead of just one.
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My dad plays a mall Santa and I used to be the photographer. Watching the older women flirt with my dad was highly uncomfortable then creepy.
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 sat down and said 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. A kid wound up and mustered 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 that was like my family. Then, it all changed and everything went sour. Such is life, I guess.
My uncle was a mall Santa for a while. He said that the worst thing he was asked by a child was: “Can you get daddy to come home?” He also had quite a few kids tug on his beard (which was a real beard) to verify that he was actually Santa.
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. Maybe the kid had a Scandinavian family? I've had reindeer meat & reindeer jerky in Sweden & Finland, it's basically considered the same as venison is in the US.
Not a Santa, but I worked at a mall taking photos of kids visiting Santa, so I heard a lot. I don't remember anything super creepy. Several kids asked for their parents to be home for Christmas. I live next to a huge US Army base and the parents were in the armed forces. One kid asked for a remote to use on his baby sibling since he wanted to use the mute button. A few wanted their grandparents to come back, or for a family member to be cured of cancer. One wanted a dog that couldn't pass.
A couple of years ago, I was really sick and when someone would ask my then eight-year-old son what he wanted for Christmas, he'd say he wanted his mom to feel better. He's so sweet.
I wasn't a mall Santa, but one of the elves who took the pictures. We had two Santas: one was narcoleptic and we had to keep waking him up, and the other would bring his own homemade bags of coal to give to the kids who would cry and we'd have to try to seize all the bags before he started his shift. The falling-asleep Santas are awful. Ours was so old he’d fall asleep while holding babies! We had to use spotters in case Santa lost his grip. That was a fun job.
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 four or five shyly handed me a little homemade snowglobe. She was obviously star-struck 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 it and said that it was very pretty. When I turned to give it back, she had run away into the crowd.
My little brother, when he was around five or six years old, asked Santa for a vacuum cleaner and a rope. Santa gave my mom a really weird look, but my brother LOVED to vacuum the living room. He would get mad if anybody else did it, and say: "I was gonna do it!" The rope was so he could tie a wagon to the back of his bike and use it as a trailer.
We took our 12-year-old nephew (who has mild autism) to meet Santa. He told him that all he wanted was a new bread machine. Santa thought he misheard him and made him repeat it. No, he absolutely wanted a new bread machine. He had watched many YouTube videos and the newer ones had functions that the one he got for his 10th birthday didn’t have.
A friend’s son, also on the spectrum, gets a shiny new vacuum cleaner every birthday. He wants nothing else. When they visit, he wants to know where your vacuum is and if he can use it. I invite them to parties early.
Not a Santa, but I remember when I was over at my relative's house, I asked my little cousin what she wanted Santa to bring her and she said wanted a chest like her mom's. She was only about six, so it was weird for me to hear her say that, but she was in a phase where she idolized her mom and wanted to look like her: same hairstyle, same glasses, etc. I guess it sort of made sense.
To be honest, I 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.
Not creepy and not a mall Santa, but I dressed up as Santa for Halloween one year, and sat on the porch handing out candy from a sack. One kid looked excited until his dad said something along the lines of "Now remember, that's not the real Santa." I gave him some candy, then I reached into the second sack and pulled out a big, hand-carved, wooden, monster truck to hand to him as well. The kid thought it was great. Dad, not so much.
My dad used to be the Macy’s Santa (in NY). He had a kid come in who wanted his brother's cancer to go away. The brother came to the store too, a couple of weeks later. Of course, Santa has no control over these things, but being the Macy’s Santa has some power. He was able to get the store to let them come in at a special time and pick out pretty much whatever they wanted. It was magical, and he still has the pictures. He would regularly write to them as Santa until after the brother passed. I tried to stay in touch with the family but I think it was just too sad and the magic was gone.
On my first day being Santa that year, some poor kid in a raggedy blue hoodie asked for a bell off of one of my reindeer's collars. I didn't know what to think, but hey, the kid was poor, so I plucked one of the bells off and gave it to him.
One kid got on my lap and asked me if I could give him a bag of "wiggly rice." I asked him what that was, and he said he ate some off a piece of chicken he found in the back yard. He said it was so yummy he wished he had a whole bag of it. I feel sorry for that kid when he grows up and realizes what he ate all those years ago.
I was a heavy metal Santa outside the local guitar shop. Nothing creepy happened, just horns or middle fingers depending on how well I was playing that day. It’s really cool to hear the echoes of a guitar solo off of passing cars though.
Some guy, a pretty disheveled fellow, had to be in his mid-30s or something, got in my face, yelling at me and accusing me of getting with his mom. Luckily, he had another friend there who assessed the situation after an ocular patdown. I shortly retired after that.
My friend's dad used to be a Santa. He couldn't stop crying after a shift one time. When we finally got him to say what was wrong, he said a little girl told him she didn't want any item for Christmas. She wanted a new daddy who wouldn't hurt her. Her dad was there with her. The friend's dad had to enact the emergency protocols. The girl didn't want to talk to the authorities about it unless Santa was with her. He heard a lot of disturbing stuff that day.
My mom's boss played Santa at her job's annual Christmas party. He told her that one kid asked for Batman. He was like, "A Batman toy?" and the kid replied, "No, Batman!" ... Turns out, he wanted Batman to come and beat up his stepdad for him because he was hurting his mother.
A kid, maybe 11 years old, whispered loud enough for me to hear: "I wish not to live anymore". I don't think anyone else heard it, and the Santa (a pretty old dude, but kind) told him: "Sorry, but there's so much more you can wish for."
I had a 15-year-old girl sit on my lap and ask me for her family back. Apparently, they all just passed. I didn’t know what the heck to say and I don’t even remember what I actually said to her. I just remember thinking, “There’s a chance she’s messing with me but there’s a chance she’s telling the truth.” I decided to assume she was telling the truth and tried to say some nice things, but I’m not sure I did a good enough job. I was shaken up until the next kid walked by and I had to put on my Santa face again. Also, there were a lot of 20- and 40-year-old women asking me for husbands.
My two-year-old once asked Santa for a Christmas tree. He gave me the most disgusted look. I was horrified because it was only the beginning of December and I was holding off until after her birthday party to put the tree up and my enormous collection of decorations for the house. I didn’t want her birthday to be overshadowed by Christmas.
Not a Santa, but a couple of years ago, the Santa who worked in a nearby town was fired. Why? An overweight 9-year-old boy sat on his lap, and Santa told him to "lay of the hamburger and french fries."
I used to photograph the kids with Santa. A little girl asked for a boy toy.
Santa was like, "What?"
Her mom was a few feet away from the stage and says, "She means a truck!"
I’m not a mall Santa but I’ve been answering Santa’s mail for over 20 years. I’m a postal worker and we volunteer to answer letters. I’ve seen it all! There’s always sad ones when little kids ask for their parent who had passed or grandparents or ask to pass a message to their loved ones. There’s always a weird adult venting about child support, divorce or money troubles. There was a group of four daughters who all asked only that their dad’s sore back get better. There was a strange kid asking for a lizard. There was one kid who said he’s sick of being alone and he was so lonely he offered to become an elf. Last year, I got a letter written from a guinea pig and we’ve had a few from the family dogs, so we treat those ones extra special.
I knew a gentleman who was a Santa in our local mall for years. He had a real beard so he was paid more. He didn't tell me any stories of anything that happened that was creepy; rather, he said every year there was something interesting that happened. One year he had a guy propose while a girl was on his lap. Another time, he said that all the 'higher-ups' were checking out the display and as they were looking away, a girl yelled "Hey Santa!" before flashing him. He was a bit of a ladies man, so he enjoyed the show.
I'm a Santa for my local Special Olympics group. I wish I could remember the count on the kids asking to stop being bullied, or asking for me to fix their ailments, ie: autism, Downs syndrome, etc. It's enough to make a grown man cry.
My dad plays Santa every year for a bunch of corporate parties and our local version of Ronald McDonald's house. They take a bunch of sick kids on a flight with Santa on a corporate jet. According to him, the absolutely most heartbreaking part of it is when little kids who are basically in hospice care ask Santa to make them better for Christmas. The second-place winner is seeing all different kids every year because none of them ever live long enough to go twice.
This is one of my worst memories ever. I had helped Santa for almost twenty years, but mostly for private parties and events. I did cover for him many years ago in a little mall in Belding, Michigan. A young girl came up with a group of kids and didn't even look up at me. I asked her what was wrong. She said I didn't give her what she asked for last year and started crying. I told her I was sorry and would try again this year. She said, "You can't. Mommy is gone because of daddy." I had absolutely nothing to say except I was so sorry. After that group of kids left, I went home sick, took off my suit and threw it away. To this day, I can hardly bear this and I still think about it every Christmastime.
Not a mall Santa, but my fire department does a Santa visit to all the houses in my town. We have a few guys dress up as Santa and we drive around going house to house in the fire engines. One year, when I was Santa, we went to a house with a married couple and two kids. The woman was clearly pregnant. The daughter, about 10 years old, creeped the heck out of me. I asked her what she wanted for Christmas and she looked at her stepmom saying, "I want the baby's life to end."
I did Santa and my kid's daycare for two Christmases. In the first year, my kids were afraid of Santa and wouldn't come near me. I guess I was too good! I didn't get the intelligence I was after. In the second year, I had one girl who was infatuated with Santa. She kept bringing me colored pictures, and she even decorated a cookie for me, etc. She was a cute kid but the infatuation got awkward. I played it cool and kept thanking her because I didn't want to crush her belief in Santa.
My kid asked Santa for a penguin foot the very first time we did the Santa thing. Santa seemed a bit confused and just looked at me. I was no help—I had no idea where that came from. The Santa we see every year is an awesome guy, though. He has a full-on Victorian Santa outfit he made himself and I think he made his wife's costume, too. He comes to a lot of different events in the city all dressed up as various characters.
My grandfather played Santa for years. All year long kids would ask if he was Santa, and he'd always smile and wink. At the American Legion, he'd do their annual Christmas party and gift all of the kids stuff that was bought in advance. One year, the fire department offered to drive him in on the back seat of the truck. All the kids lined up to see him. He never showed up.
You can see where this is headed. The department got a call for a fire in another town. Bad. They rushed over with my grandfather on the truck still. So, there's freaking Santa Claus watching this poor family's house burn down. And he's on the ground, playing with the kids and their dog. Keeping them distracted as their whole lives go up in flames. He said he lost it when someone came to pick him up. A kid asked if Santa could bring them a new home to live in and he didn't know what to say.
A kid gave me a list once that genuinely just consisted of vegetables. It’s not creepy by any means but it sure took me by surprise. I’ve always wondered if little Jimmy ever got his Christmas tomato...
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