It's every kid's dream to be able to tell Santa Clause what they want for Christmas. Getting to sit on his lap is a right of passage, and they spend hours upon hours trying to decide the perfect gift. Although, sometimes their gift isn't usually what the other kids want. Their gift is something no one should ever have to ask for.
Mall Santas on Reddit shared the disturbing gift a child asked for. Content has been edited for clarity.
“It Took Me By Surprise”
“My neighbor has this great Christmas display that he and his family put up every year. They usually had me to be Santa because I do a good Santa voice and am good with young kids.
One little girl came up to me, and I do the usual, ‘What would you like for Christmas?’
She asked if I could bring her daddy back to life for Christmas. It took me by surprise. He was killed in a car accident a few months ago, and this would be her first Christmas without him. Very sympathetically, I told her that unfortunately even though I (Santa) can do many things, bringing her dad back was something I couldn’t do. It clearly broke her heart, because she probably thought Santa could actually do it. I told her that even though her daddy may not be with her now, he will always be with her in spirit and he will always love her.”
“That Was Tough To Listen To”
“A few years ago, I worked as a Santa/elf. The saddest part of this was the area where I was stationed. I was in very low income neighborhood areas. Being in a large city is great but with it come more problems. My sister in law was working with us at school function/local mall where they held the Santa thing. Down right worst things that make you sad.
One kid wanted a door because the police broke his to arrest his dad and took him away. He also wanted dad back.
One kid wanted her uncle to stop touching her at night.
One other kid wanted running water and food for the house because mommy didn’t have any.
I have never volunteered to work there again. We of course did report these things to police as they happened so there was some good that came of it. But my god, that was tough to listen to.”
“Broke My Heart Hearing That”
“I knew someone once worked as a mall Santa, and he gets this 6 year old girl on his lap. Of all things, she told him she wanted a new bladder for Christmas. This poor girl had a under developed bladder or something, so she had to wear diapers and he could feel she had one on.
Kind of broke my heart hearing that story because 6 year olds should be asking for toys or for a pet, not being concerned about their own body. They should not be asking for a new body part for Christmas. Fortunately she was waiting for surgery, according to the mother.”
Some Unique Interests
“Waited in line for three hours with my little brother, it’s his turn and he looked Santa dead in the eye and said he wanted a decapitated Barbie doll.
Christmas rolls by and my mom got it for him, just to see what he was going to do. What did he do with it you may ask? Well the year prior, he got a troll doll and little did we know he decapitated it and threw the body away. Now we have troll Barbie and none of us know why he felt the need to Frankenstein the poor dolls, but okay.”
“Suddenly, I Knew Who They Were”
“I was an elementary school Santa for three years. This experience still haunts me….
I’d had a long morning of little tykes with retail advertising dreams of all kinds of shiny new ‘must have’ toys, older boys with dreams of motorized vehicles, and older girls with dreams of ‘cute boys’ and 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. And then, after another hour of the usual, I met two little children dressed in their Sunday best.
And each of them perched on my knee, looked deep into my eyes, and asked, quietly and 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 little sister, age 7, was dying of cancer in 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 cane, and told them that it wasn’t up to Santa, but I would do my best to put in a good word with the guy upstairs. And told them to remember everybody loved them too, and that it was OK to have fun for themselves. And 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. Where I wept quietly for the little girl, and her family, and the unselfish love of little children.
And then 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. And the butterflies come there in the summer and dance.”
Good Thing He Acted So Quickly
“I played Santa in phone calls. A local charity worked with our community theater which I was a part of. Parents would fill out a questionnaire of their kid’s name, age, hobbies and what they were actually getting that they wanted me, as Santa, to tell them personally they would get. Then the parents would have their kid write a letter to Santa which I would have in hand while talking to them. There were two teams of us, a man and women. The woman would be Mrs Claus, or Santa’s secretary, or an elf… we played around with a few things. I did this for two years after high school and loved it, it was a blast!
So anyway, we did this for two weeks leading up to Christmas. Two women friends and a guy friend who were all part of the theater. We did it at the same time in two rooms backstage at the theater. My friend’s team got a young girl who after a little get-to-know-you, ‘Yes I really am Santa’ talk, asked my friend if he could make the bogeyman go away. I am not sure I would have thought much of this, and apparently her parents didn’t think it either, but my buddy (I found out after this) had a bogeyman of his own that came in at night… and yeah, did some horrible things. He talks to her for a minute more about it but nothing I would have picked up on. After discussing how weird it was and what a bad feeling he had about it after we were done that night, he went to the police. They investigated. Turns out her ‘bogeyman’ was an uncle that had only been staying with family through the holidays and had been touching her. My buddy figured it out with his spidey sense and saved a young girl from further horror. He was the best Santa ever that year.
He only told me and the two women we were working with… well and the police, about his past. We chipped in and got him a silver candy cane kind of charm for a necklace he wore so he could always remember his good deed. He never wore the charm though, told me it just made him think of his past. I don’t let him forget though, whenever ever he gets down, that he still was once he was the best Santa ever to a little girl.”
“I Went Home Sick”
“I had ‘helped’ Santa for almost twenty years, but mostly for private parties and events. I did cover for him many years ago in little mall in Belding, Michigan. A little girl came up with a group of kids and didn’t even look up at me and didn’t want to talk or get a candy cane. 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 I couldn’t, because she asked Santa to ‘stop daddy from hurting mommy and he didn’t.’ Her mother was killed by her father. All I could do was apologize. The chaperone took the girl away, not saying anything. I went home sick, removed my suit and never wore it again. I don’t know if the other person helping Santa that day thought they could do something for that little angel, but she was betrayed. I still think about her every holiday season. I haven’t helped Santa since and don’t think I ever will again.”
Santa Did His Best
“When I was in the army, I stayed back for Christmas one year because I wanted to save my leave time for when I got out so I could max out terminal leave.
The rear detachment First Sergeant volunteered me to play Santa at the units Christmas party for everyone else that stayed back. I’m a big guy so it made sense to ask me. I figured hanging out with the kids would be better than talking to wasted NCOs and Officers who could ruin my life if they wanted.
Our Squadron Operations Officer (a Major/O4) came up to me about when I was done playing Santa and was gonna sneak off to my barracks room. He told me his wife had recently been diagnosed with cancer and he was pretty sure their kids would ask me to get rid of mom’s cancer. He asked if I was comfortable dealing with that and I said sure.
He and his wife bring them over, we take a picture and then I ask their daughter what she wants for Christmas. First thing she said to me was, ‘Mommy is really sick, Santa. She has cancer.’
I don’t remember word for word but here’s a close recreation of what I said:
‘I can do a lot of great magical things, but even I can’t cure cancer all on my own. I need you to be strong for Mommy. Always show her that you love her. Help her around the house if she needs it. Be there for your little brother, he’s too young to understand all of this. Trust Mommy’s doctors. They know what they’re doing and they’re trying their absolute best to heal Mommy. And if it all becomes too much, don’t hold it in. Talk to Daddy, or maybe an Uncle or Aunt. They’ll understand and appreciate how strong you are and they’ll help you. If you can promise to do all of that, I promise to talk to Mommy’s doctors and help them as best I can.’
She nodded and said, ‘Okay,’ through out my little speech and gave me one of the best hugs of my entire life when I was done.
I tried to avoid any phrasing that gave certainty. I didn’t want Mom to pass away and this girl’s image of Santa to be destroyed. Losing Mom would be enough, might as well try to preserve Santa for her.
Later that following year when I was out processing from the army, I had to go to his office and get some paperwork stamped. He asked me to sit down and told me his wife had recently been given the all clear. She had beat her cancer. He said their daughter told his wife’s doctors what Santa told her and that the doctors said Santa called and told them where to look for the cancer. He didn’t even bother checking whether or not I had actually done what I needed for out processing, he just stamped my papers. When I was leaving, he gave me a hug and offered to be a reference for when I needed to find a civilian job.”
“Thought I Misheard Him”
“He asked for ‘new eyes.’ Thought I misheard him. In the whole rush and bustle of activity, I hadn’t even really looked at the boy. Now, tilting my head down, I stared into his hollow orbits, underneath which he gave a serene smile. I literally screamed and instinctively tossed him from my lap- he stumbled onto one of my elves who had a similar reaction. I felt like such a piece of trash after only a few seconds had passed.
The parents (who also had no eyes) were furious, especially the father who threatened to sue, but the boy just whispered sadly: ‘It’s okay dad, in another life.'”
Santa The Therapist
“When I was a teen, I was taking my little cousin to see Santa. A little girl in front of us asked Santa for ‘Daddy not to stab mommy again,’ because she ‘wants mommy to come home.’
She was with an elderly woman, who I assume was a grandmother. The woman looked equal parts embarrassed and heartbroken, and the Santa was just dumbfounded and silent.
But grandma said something along the lines of, ‘We don’t talk about that with Santa, we talk about that at church.’
The little girl asked for whatever toy and went on their way. It was a very real-world, eye opening sort of experience for 16 year old me. I always hated the Santa lies, but after that I realized Santa is pretty much an ‘acceptable’ once-a-year therapist for kids. That kids can sometimes ask/tell Santa things they would normally not talk about with the adults in their lives.”
Her Mother Cried As Soon As She Saw What Her Daughter Wrote
“I worked as an elf for a couple years and we had this ‘Wish Jar’ that you could put slips of paper in.
A little girl wrote something down on a piece of paper and folded it and quietly slipped it into the jar. The mom came rushing back after they left asking if we could get the paper out of the jar for her. She unfolded it and in crayon it said, ‘I want Dad to come home.’ The mother started crying and took it with her.
Got some other weird and sad ones but that one hit me right in the feels.”
Rick, The Naughty Stepfather
“When I was a boy (4 or 5), I was so excited to go to the mall just to meet Santa. Keep in mind all the build up that has come to this moment, I had to beg my mum and wait an eternity. Since the beginning of the year, I knew what I wanted. Finally, we arrived at the local mall and I immediately spotted Santa Claus. After waiting in line for a good 15 minutes, as a boy I got restless and walked my mom to the front right in the middle of a kid asking for an electric ATV (the toy ones?). He started crying and ran off to his mom and my mom being super embarrassed got very mad at me and walked back.
After waiting in line and getting my place on Santa’s lap, I took a seat and began my many hours practiced speech. But, before that Santa had remembered that I walked to the font of the line and said to me, ‘Oh, you’re a naughty little boy, but Santa will try to get you what you want.’
I looked at him oddly as if offended, at the time I thought Santa was obliged to get you what you wanted.
I told him what I wanted, ‘Santa?’
Santa replied, ‘Yes?’
My dumb self, but I still don’t regret it to this day said, ‘I want a better stepfather that doesn’t drive hammered and tries to make me smoke weed with him.’
I didn’t say those words exactly, and I knew it was illegal to drink and drive because my mum told me. I said that more like a child would, and I remember (not positive if it’s true because my mom told me actually) telling Santa that my stepdad was actually the bad boy and he should be on the naughty list. My mum took me home to the police on our doorstep. Well, as you can all imagine, Rick, my stepfather, is now in prison.”
He Saw Her Again Years Later…In Court
“I was a Mall Santa in the ’80s. Things were pretty routine that year as far as toy requests. Ninja Turtles, New Kids on The Block Jackets, P.J. Sparkles Dolls.
And Lego, which never gets old, kids love to build things..
One perfectly normal looking little 12 year old girl came and asked for many fire-related items. Lighters, sparklers, a barbecue lighter, wooden matches, and pink ping pong balls. I immediately balked and said she might want to get more practical presents, toys and the like.
Mom put her hand right in front of my face, laughed merrily and said her daughter was ‘just going through a phase…’ and, I would be looking for a job elsewhere in fifteen minutes if I didn’t shut up. Okay, no words to either. Threat by Mom duly noted by every parent in line, shoppers and staff. My mall camera store folks glared at the woman, and no one said anything else. They had their pictures with Santa taken, with me utterly dead eyed, and then left. Staff were visibly upset. We took a quick 5 minute break and came back.
My boss was very concerned when I share this with him and said he knew exactly which child it was; that she was a privileged girl with very wealthy parents.
Boss: ‘She’ll be a newspaper headline one day kid.’
Ten years later, I drew the now adult daughter’s courtroom sketch in a capital city courtroom.
She had been charged in a string of arson related-incidents stemming from a period of over 12 years, all over the city close to major bus routes.”
“His Tummy Was Tired Of Hurting”
“The saddest encounter I ever watched was waiting in line with my daughter at Wal-Mart to be next on Santa’s lap. The boy in front of her was whispering, which was weird. All of the kids who had gone before had been kind of average, we could hear their responses. He also looked about 8 or 9 and was so frail looking. Well I guess he finally got tired of being asked what he wanted because the associate couldn’t hear him.
He finally spoke up that he wanted food, because his tummy was tired of hurting and so was Mommy and Daddy’s, but Daddy couldn’t find another job yet, he had an owie. The associate being Santa had the camera girl call the manager of the store. When they showed up, they had a cart with all the fixing for a dinner, as well as canned goods, soups, snack foods, etc. And they gave it to the family. I wasn’t even mad for the half hour hold up after that it made me feel better knowing the little boy and any sibling he might have as well as his family weren’t going to go hungry, or have minuscule amounts to eat for a little while, at least.”
“What The Heck Is That?”
“This request genuinely scared me; this one kid’s dad looked like a mean dude and his son was no older than 10.
The boy sits on my lap and whispers in my ear, ‘I want this more than anything else.’
I say, ‘Okay, tell me what you want and I’ll make sure you get it young man.’
Pulls back, looks at his dad, focuses his attention back to me, ]I want a Campo Giro.’
In my head I’m thinking, What the heck is that?
But to him I say, ‘Are you sure that’s what you want?’
He says, ‘Yes, I really really want it.’
I’m like, ‘Okay, sure a Campo Giro.’ He was very pleased.
Later I did research for such an odd request from a little kid. Come to find out, that item is a semi-automatic weapon.”
A True Emotional Rollercoaster
“It was Christmas Eve 2004 and the father of a family with little kids, who were losing their belief in Santa, decided to rent a suit, climb up on the roof, make a bunch of noise and have jingle bells jingling. This was so the kids would hear what was happening, run outside and see Santa with their own eyes….
We had a busy day on the engine (Firefighter) including a child airlifted to hospital from a really bad MVA, a house fire that destroyed a house, then this call.
Well, Santa was on the roof, making noise, and the kids run outside. They were young, around 6, 8, 11. No matter how old they were, nothing could have prepared them for this sight.
Santa is lying on the ground. The family calls 911, we show up, Santa is having agonal respirations, and his heart was in V-Fib. We ended up doing CPR on him, including airway and multiple shocks, all in front of his family.
We tried several times to remove the family to protect them, but they wouldn’t listen. Tears were streaming down everyone’s face. I can’t ever remove the vision from my mind of the children’s faces, as they saw Santa being worked, then realizing Santa was their dad, then their dad had died.”
A Heartfelt Request
“During college, I was a department store Santa. One little girl, with her mother looking on at a distance, whispered:
‘Please bring a boyfriend for Mommy. Ever since Daddy died, she’s been so lonely. That’s what I really want for Christmas, Santa.’
I looked up at her loving mother, and back at the girl, and felt a lump in my throat.”
“I Got Off The Phone As Quick As I Could”
“I volunteered for a project where ‘Santa’ would call kids on the phone. An adult figure would submit a request with a phone number, a short bio of the kid(s), interests they have, and potential presents they might want we could discuss.
We were prepped for the occasional ‘Mom submitted the form but didn’t tell Dad and we might get an angry parent wondering what pervert is talking to their kids.’
The most messed up kid I got? There was two kids on the form. The first was normal enough. Then the older kid got on. They asked for the doll from the Chucky movie. Like a sane person, I was thinking a stuffed doll. No, the kid went on this psychotic tirade. The kid started yelling at me saying they wanted the real Chucky doll that goes around and effing kills people (yes they swore at me). They then went into some plans about what they wanted to do with the doll and who they wanted to get. I think I gave an answer about being afraid of the real Chucky and said I wasn’t sure I could fulfill the request. I guess I should’ve talked to the parents afterwards but I got off the phone as quick as I could and thanked god I didn’t call this kid from my home number.”