Mall Santas have to put on a happy face and a warm chuckle, despite children reveal heartbreaking details to them. Not to mention how many disgusting adults think a photo op with Santa is a chance to make a move! All of these not so jolly Santas deserve raises. Content has been edited for clarity.
"I have been working as Santa for several seasons now. One time this woman with special needs came up to visit me. She looked to be about forty, but she sounded more like a twelve-year-old. She asked me to maker her boyfriend quit hitting her. All I did was listen to her, and I knew instantly that she wa stelling the truth. I told one of my helper elves to get the deputy sheriff at the event to come and see him. I whispered to him what the woman had told me. He returned ten minutes later and asked if I would speak to her in a private area. We found the woman, and Santa got a more clear yet disturbing picture of the extent of her abuse. The sheriff got to work after that, and a few months later, he called me up again. The offending boyfriend had been sentenced to eight years in prison for his abuse, and the woman had been relocated to a much better care facility. From then on, I visited a lot of special needs communities as Santa, and the support and love I could give to them was the biggest reward of them all."
"Former mall Santa here. I was so dedicated that I even bought a professional Santa suit because I hated the one they provided. This little girl, who couldn't be older than five, was screaming bloody murder 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 her kid instantly stopped screaming. The kid just had this look of pure hatred towards her mom for the remainder of the photo session. 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.'
I noped myself into a break after that one. It was the inside joke for the rest of the mall Santa season, where the other employees and I would whisper to each other how we wanted each other to die. This one lonely college-aged girl kept getting in line several times a week to get pictures with Santa. I was in college myself back then too, and I was pretty sure that she was working herself up to asking me out. She was extremely shy, awkward, and did have some hygiene issues. She only would get pictures with me and no other mall Santas.
The worst interaction was definitely the perverted things that older women would whisper in my ear while sitting on Santa's lap. They were definitely going on the naughty list! It became so frequent for the younger Santas in the group to be groped and harassed that the elves were told to stay close by when adults got their picture taken. That elf security was top-notch!"
"I worked as a Santa for two holiday seasons when I was in college. This was probably around 2002 or 2003. I was stationed in this pet store in a rougher part of town, where my friend happened to be the manager. I was in an un-padded suit and didn't really fit the build for Santa, but I still wanted to give it my best shot. So this small kid, maybe four years old, come in and asked me what was in my pocket. No idea how this kid knew I had anything in my pockets. I did have my piercing in there, along with my day's pay. His brother tried to distract me by grabbing my fake beard away from me. There was already a small crowd of kids watching this in total shock. Next thing I know, the four-year-old's hand is reaching into my pocket to grab whatever was in there. I grabbed his hand and started to pull away. His parents showed up and screamed at me to leave their kids alone. It wasn't my first rodeo, so I yanked his hand out fast, took back the cash, then grabbed the older brother by the scruff of the neck and started dragging him out of the store. Never grab the small one, that's what they want. I unceremoniously kicked him as he went out the door, then brandished a heavy pet cage at the parents, screaming at them to get the heck out of there! They cursed me out a bit and left. The security guy was standing there laughing.
It was about that time I looked over and saw all the other little kids and their parents had seen Santa kick a teenager and threaten to brain his parents. My main regret in all this is that I did not think to deliver some line about not getting on the naughty list."
I've worked as a mall Santa before, and it's always the older people who make for the most awkward encounters. I've had a number of adults try to grind in my lap. There were even a few girls who would refer to be as 'Santa Baby'. This guy once told me he wished I took time off from delivering presents to join him and his girlfriend. Another guy once offered to 'climb up my chimney'. This elderly woman told me how she wanted to try my personal 'candy cane' and left with a wink. I definitely wasn't expecting that one. I remember one time I popped into the line of people and joking asked if everyone was excited to sit on Santa's lap. There were these four teen girls who whipped around and screamed at me. That was way too much for me. When those girls came up in line, I told them I would give them new cars if they stayed a foot away from me and didn't bring any boyfriends home for the holidays. The dad who brought them seemed rather relieved.
Finally, I once had this pre-teen girl come up to me in front of her parents. She asked me if she could make me a new suit for Christmas. I told her if she did that for me, then I would permanently add her to the nice list every single year. She looked horrified at this thought. She told me, 'But Santa! I want to be on the NAUGHTY list!'
That one really puzzled me. Who knows why she wanted to be on the naughty list! She seemed so serious about it too! The parents merely laughed at her. I felt very uncomfortable and immediately excused myself, saying that I had to go check on the elves in the back. That pre-teen girl was so creepy! Unfortunately, I didn't get to encounter too many little kids, just some really bizarre adults!
"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. There was also apparently something about how the suit was cursed. So the night of 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. This one woman walks up to me, wasted out of her mind, and sits on my lap. I try to keep character, so I ask her, 'Why hello, what would you like for Christmas?'
She tells me, without hesitation, 'I would love for my husband to do me in the butt while you watched!'
I tried my hardest to maintain my composure and politely declined, while I attempted to get her off of my lap. She told me, 'It's fine, my husband would be cool with it, let me go get him!'
She screamed out for Patrick at the top of her lungs. The entire party heard her. Everyone turned around to see me, the new guy dressed as Santa, with what turned out to be the CEO's wife on his lap. Thank god I still have a job there. The CEO quickly figured out what was going on and politely got his assistant to hand out the rest of the presents. The room managed to return to normal. His wife stumbled up and went over to him, whispering lord knows what into his ear while staring at me. He walked up to me, simply handed me a $50 bill, and stated, 'Good job keeping character throughout the night, hope you stick around to see another guy stuck in the suit next year.'
He had a completely unreadable face. IT was truly the strangest Christmas party I had ever attended. I most certainly denied the CEO's wife. She kept trying to make advances on me throughout the night, but they were much more small and discrete. Finally, she gave up after a while. I was so relieved to get out of that cursed Santa suit and away from all those people!"
"During my college years, I would play Santa at college events for exchange students. This was designed for students traveling abroad who were staying at the Swiss college where I resided. In Switzerland, Santa drops by on the sixth of December. If your behavior had been naughty, Santa would threaten to beat you half to death with willow rods. If you had been good, he would give you a bag full of nuts, citrus fruits, chocolate, and some bottles of bubbly for the parents of children. My professor of Intercultural Human Resources wanted his exchange students to experience a proper Swiss Santa, so he asked me to do him a solid and show up to class in character. He did pay me in bubbly at least. Santa waltzed into the lecture hall, yelling at the professor to stop bothering the students. I started passing out goody bags to the students. But I also had to berate some students who were apparently naughty. A bunch of professors had gotten together and made a list of students that were driving them all crazy, and I delivered the punishment. I just yelled at some of them, which was pretty funny. Afterwards, the professor explained why Swiss Santa is not only being mean but also passing out drinks, some exchange students, emboldened by the very drinks Santa gave them, wanted to sit on Santa's lap.
Now, Santa was about 21 years old and single, so he said sure, maybe Santa would meet a special someone. Due to the prof, his colleagues and the Swiss students happily laughing until they vomited after seeing the exchange students faces, I performed this show for three years of college and even for a couple of years afterwards. I only stopped once my employer sent me abroad during December, and the prof had to get a replacement.
I'll give you an example of how messed up Swiss Santa is. The tradition dates back to the first Christian missionaries coming to pagan, Alemanic Switzerland after the collapse of Rome. Back then, if you could afford to pay the highly respected and very desired bodyguards or servants left behind by the Romans, you were a very mighty man. Swiss Santa always travels with an entourage of very big, broad-shouldered, intimidating and equally holy men, all called "Schmutzli" (Roughly translated from Alemanic German: People who were not careful enough while handling soot and/or fire). Therefore, if someone gets uppity, Santa traditionally threatens to call in his armed thugs to beat the person senseless and drag him off to Siberia for forced labor. Students from the US and Africa found this threat very convincing. Students from Mexico or Asia not so much."
"My boyfriend is a Santa for private events, and he has been doing it for over twenty years, so he has a BUNCH of insane stories. Here's the creepiest one he ever told me. He was booked for a private party, and it was adults-only. All the ladies were being a bit flirty, but nothing too crazy had happened yet. The song 'Santa Baby' started playing, and the ladies dragged my boyfriend onto the dance floor. He shimmied a bit and went back over to sit down. Suddenly, this woman grabbed him and started grinding against him. He tried to get away from her while staying in character. He tried to ask her what Mrs. Claus would think about this, but she only let out a soft moan. Finally, the hostess of the venue noticed what was happening and broke it up. This woman kept trying to get to poor Santa the rest of the night!
He hasn't only dealt with sad adults though. One time he was working at a shopping mall, when a little kid crawled up into his lap. This kid couldn't have been more than four or five. With the sweetest smile, he asked if Santa could make his mommy love him. My boyfriend gave the kid a big hug, so the kid wouldn't see my boyfriend tearing up. Santa told the boy that that was a request for a higher power, and he and Mrs. Claus would pray about it. The kid seemed happy with that response."
"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. He tried only to focus on the positives. One year, he had a guy propose while a girl was on his lap. This other time, he said that all the 'higher ups' were checking out the display front. As they were looking away, a girl yelled, 'Hey Santa!' and then she flashed him. Santa had a good laugh, but the higher-ups were not impressed.
This friend of mine also worked at a children's home and dressed up as the Easter Bunny one year. His office was separate from the children's home, and he had to walk along a busy freeway to get to the home. While he was walking home, a wasted driver got distracted by him and crashed his car a little ways up the road. This freaked my friend out, so he walked down the hill to the home for a bit and called 911. The driver went on and on to the cops about a massive rabbit walking upright, but by that time my friend had removed his costume. That driver must have had some super weird nightmares for a while."
"One of my most prized possessions is a home-made snow globe that was given to me by a random little girl. It has a prominent place on my desk. Every year, I get dressed up as Santa and tour around my small 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 snow globe. 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 the snow globe was very pretty. When I turned to give it back, she had run away into the crowd.
I actually think that the little girl probably made it as part of a craft project at nursery school. My daughters often bring home similar things. My wife actually volunteered my services. She's been working very hard the past few years to revive the community spirit in our town, and she organized the whole thing, including putting on a short Christmas story in the town square. As far as I know, I was the only Santa in the nearby towns last year. In exchange for the use of the horse and carriage, I made an appearance in the horse's village over the river from us."
"When I was seventeen, I got a job being Santa in an inner-city mall close to where I lived. I was surprised they hired me, but they were desperate because the previous Santa just up and quit all of a sudden. I actually kind of enjoyed the job. Kids asked me for all kinds of weird stuff, but nothing too out of the ordinary at least. However, the thing that does stick out is that I witnessed a very intense gang shooting right in front of my eyes. The Santa platform was facing the food court of the mall I was in, and I had a pretty view of everything. Well one day near beginning of my shift, I heard three loud bangs, then saw everyone scattering out of the food court, screaming and yelling. I luckily did not have any kids at the moment (it was too early in the day), and I just stood up, having no idea what to do. I then saw one kid chasing another into the bathrooms next to the food court, then a few seconds later, two more shots. One kid ran out of the bathroom (obviously the shooter) and that was the end of it. I quit my job the next day."
"Though I have only been portraying Santa for a few years, I have worked with kids for many years. I have been trained, and trained others in Youth Protection and what to look for in kids as well as adults. I often work for charity (in fact, I use my portrayal to fund a scholarship I started in my Mother's name), and I have done parties and other events for suburban parties, in home visits, Hospitals, and for 'at-risk' youth. You hear everything, but by far the most poignant moments, the ones that have stuck with me are the wishes from the children in orphanages and foster care. The young girl who only wanted, 'Her brother's leg to get better,' and the little girl who asked Santa to, 'Make her parents love each other again,' broke my heart. When I go to these type of functions, I know I am going to hear something that is going to make me cry later, but Santa still needs to say something that might make the child feel a little better without making any promises. The young fellow who said he wanted world peace so he could feel safe again was another one where Santa had a lump in his throat. I told him it would be something we all would have to work on."
"One evening, a girl who couldn't have been older than six started going on and on about her sister, Isabella. She told me how Isabella was helping Jesus now, which I took to mean that her sister had passed away. She wasn't asking for Isabella to be alive for Christmas. She was explaining how she missed Isabella and just wanted someone to talk to. What could I say as Santa? I told her that it was good she remembered Isabella, and Isabella would always be with her. I told her that Isabella thought fondly of her as well, because Isabella had told me before. This comforted the little girl, who was too young to be thinking about this sort of metaphysical stuff. Maybe I shouldn't have said anything at all, but I didn't want to just tell her the same cliché nonsense you tell someone grieving the loss of another. I wanted to say something truly meaningful. The little girl's parents didn't react, but I'm not sure if they heard what the little girl had talked to me about. She smiled and hugged me, then she went off with her parents. I don't know if she ever remembered what Santa told her, but I like to think that I gave a small bit of comfort that day. Being Santa is a responsibility. I want to reinforce some positive lessons when I talk to children as Santa. Later on, I began working at a lot of events for children and widows of fallen policemen. I regularly talked to children who asked me for their fathers for Christmas. I had to hold back tears, but I tried to embody that fateful day with the little girl and be as genuine and thoughtful as I could with them."
"This is one of my all-time worst memories ever. I helped the mall Santa for almost twenty years, but usually when he was performing at private parties or events. One time, I covered for the regular Santa at this quaint little mall in Belding, Michigan. This young girl came up with a group of kids, but she wouldn't even look at me. I tried to ask her what was wrong, and she told me how I didn't give her what she asked for last year. Then she broke down crying. I told her how sorry I was, and how I would definitely try again this year. She then told me, 'You can't. I asked you to stop Daddy from hurting Mommy, but he still did. Now Mommy is Dead.'
I had absolutely nothing to say. What could I say? I tried to apologize and tell the little girl how I was so sorry. After that group of children left, I went home feeling absolutely sick to my stomach. I took off my Santa suit and threw it away. to this very day, I can barely stomach revisiting that memory. Unfortunately, I still this about this memory every time it rolls around to the holidays. Merry Christmas, everyone!"