Heart-Wrenching Stories From Mall Santas And Their Helpers That'll Make Your Heart Grow Seven Sizes

Being a mall Santa involves much more than just sitting in a chair and scaring kids. In fact, based on all the sad things people ask mall Santas for Christmas, it sounds like a position that involves some healthcare benefits and pension plans. Because when you hear about the sad things people ask mall Santas for, you realize this position is basically a therapy session with the couch removed. No mall Santa gets adequately prepared for this type of work, which means sad mall Santa requests can go either wonderfully or poorly depending on how quick the copycat Kris Kringle is on their feet. If children believe Santa gives anything to any good girl or boy who asks, then how does bootleg St. Nick respond to kids who ask mall Santas to bring their parents back together? 

Based on the Reddit accounts below, heart-wrenching mall Santa moments prove that these mall fixtures do so much more than just give Santa a bad name.


  • Doggone It

    From Quantum_Mechanix:

    "When I was a freshman in college, I got a gig as a mall Santa at a smaller local mall. A little girl came up to me and sat on my lap. I asked her in the most jovial way what she wanted for Christmas. She pulls out a picture of her dead dog and says 'Can you bring my dog back?' The look on her face when I said no was heart-wrenching."

  • Asking To Bring Back Mommy

    From trekkie12:

    "I wasn't Santa, but I was playing the elf role. There was one instance where a little girl came in with her father. She must have been four or five. She sat on Santa's lap and he asked her what she wanted for Christmas. Timidly, she whispered something. Santa couldn't hear her so he asked her again. She said, a little louder 'I want my mommy for Christmas.' The girl started crying and the dad immediately rushed up and grabbed her. He was rubbing her back and saying 'We talked about this honey, mommy's gone to heaven.' And she was sobbing and sobbing and the dad started to cry and he ran with her out of the mall.

    "It was the most depressing thing I had ever experienced. I saw at least five or six mothers in line silently shedding tears watching the spectacle."

  • Kids, Meet Nick Jr.

    From ProtagonistAgonist:

    "A few years back I filled in for Santa at a locally owned toy store. Since 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 seven 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 damned note forever."

  • For Santa To Watch Over His Family

    From URPerfect:

    "I am not a Mall Santa, just a nurse on peds ICU. Me being one of the few males, it was my turn to be Santa for the kids in children's hospital. I also like to dress up, mainly as a super-hero, but that's not the point here.

    "We are used to some really hard and tough requests kids make, but the one I'll remember for the rest of my life is a kid with few months to live and who knows it. He asked Santa to promise him he'll take care of the family and animals, which is not the first time a kid has asked something like that, but he was very precise and knew exactly what each and every one of them would like and enjoy. He was four-years-old."

  • He Left Santa In Tears

    From Bamboo_Steamer:

    "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, skinhead 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 handpicked each toy to the child depending on their disability or special need. We reached that toy into the sack and 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 seven or eight, but his disability made him very small in stature, so he looked about four 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 6 ft 2 in, muscle bound skinhead, east-ender from London, was found crying in the charity office when he left to get changed."

  • 'I Need One More Year With Mommy'

    From ai_jarvis:

    "I have been doing the Santa for a few years now and work at a tree farm with a cabin in it. The most heart-wrenching story I have is not mine, but from the other Santa that I work with.

    "There was an older woman (mid-twenties) that was mentally handicapped. When she sat on this Santa's lap she got really quiet and it took him asking her what she wanted for Christmas several times before she spoke up. She said, 'Santa, my mommy is dying and I need one more year with mommy, 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 (possibly father) then lead her away.

    "The next Christmas, she came back to the farm and was very excited to see Santa. You see, her mother had lived for another year, and she sat on Santa's knee and asked Santa for another year, said that she knew and 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, please Santa, just one more year.' Again, before he could say anything, she was giving 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 and looked at him and started to sob. She said she knew Santa had tried his hardest, that he did the best he could, 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 and he said to her, 'My child, 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. She whispered to him, 'I love you mommy. I love you Santa.' 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."