Every year, kids around the world chirp and buzz and otherwise make delightfully adorable noises about how excited they are to get presents from Santa Claus at Christmas. But the holiday reality of actually meeting the man in red? Well, that’s not always a cause for celebration, as these 27 photos of Consumerist readers’ kids clearly demonstrate. You try meeting a large stranger with a bunch of white stuff on his face and see how you’d feel.
We’d like to thank all our generous readers who sent in photos this year — and if you don’t see yours below, it might just have been too small for the collection so feel free to send it in next year. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all other kinds of warm feelings to you all. Take it away, kids.
Annie, 23 months: “Christmas chaos,” writes mom Mari.
Benji, 1: “We were blindsided because Benji normally loves strangers and regularly approaches and hugs random people,” explains his mom, Karin.
Jack, 4, and his sister, Helena, 1: “Jack is holding Helena’s hand to protect her from the big guy,” says mom Jennifer. “Or he may just be encouraging her to stop crying so they can both get presents.
Ruby, 6 months: “This is Ruby being scared of Santa,” writes mom Lindsey.
Lucas, 3 and Nora, 1: “Can’t really see Nora, but that’s the beauty of it!” says mom Sarah.
Michael, 11 months: “Eleven months old and his first Christmas why would he scream like that?” writes mom Cindy. “It’s not like I’m handing him over to a complete stranger dressed in bright red and with long white whiskers…. oh wait, oops my bad.”
Emily, 11 months, Hannah, 3: “My wife got this a week or so ago while she was shopping,” writes dad Todd. “Sums up our house pretty well.”
Billy Fred, 1 year and one month: “He was perfectly fine while we waited in line but once I put him in Santa’s hands the world had ended,” his mom Becca writes. “They snapped a few pictures and when I picked him up he was completely fine. It was like I never put him down!”
Jackson, 1: “This is his first visit with Santa Claus at a special fundraiser for the Junior League of Portland – I guess he thought we were feeding him to the wolves or something awful – it’s really a shame there’s no audio with the photo….”
Frankie, 3 and Eloise, 1: “We spent about 15 minutes chatting with Santa,” mom Amy explains. “Frankie got a little more brave, but Eloise looked suspicious the whole time. She was not having it. At least she didn’t vomit on him like Frankie did on her gingerbread house.”
Harper, 6 months: “She is 6 months old and absolutely hates Santa Claus,” her mom Brittney writes. “This her second time sitting on his lap and without fail, she screams. Santa doesn’t look like he’s too thrilled about the experience either.”
Ryan Jr., 6 months
Finn, 17 months: “This is as close as he got to sitting in Santa’s lap,” writes his mom Teresa. “We did get some fair photos with him sitting on the armrest though.”
Evelyn, 17 months: “She promised us ‘I no scream at Santa, mommy!’ ” writes her mom Amy. “Well, she clearly lied to us!”
Charlie-Nadine, 3 months: “Gotta love their first Christmas!” her mom says.
Otto, 2, visiting Santa last year: “He was absolutely excited and thrilled – until the very last minute, when he began to freak out and clutched his lollipop for dear life,” his parents Dan and Kalee write. “We just took him to Santa this year, and he’s over the fear, though he still didn’t quite understand why Santa didn’t have the presents he asked for on the spot…”
Hannah, 6, Joseph, 3 and Sarah, 18 months: “Sarah, the little screamer, was 18 months,” explains dad Joe. “She did NOT want to be there.”
Tyler: “Santa. The S in PTSD,” writes Tyler’s dad Mike.
Penelope, 8 months: “She HATED sitting on Santa’s lap,” her dad Benjamin says. “That’s her brother Everett sitting next to her.”
Madison, 2: “No story, just a great fear of the man in red,” her dad Justin explains.
Emma, 10 months and Logan, 23 months: “As soon as we pulled Logan off Santa’s lap she looked at me and said, ‘I Logan Santa fun.’ I asked her, ‘You thought seeing Santa was fun?’ ” her mom Laura says. “‘ Yes!’ she replied. Looks like a fun time, eh?”
Phyla, 1 and a half.
Sophia, 13 months: “She was hyperventilating for a good 10 minutes after this traumatic experience until Grandma could calm her down,” her mom Sarah explains.
Nathan, 2: “He wanted nothing to do with Santa and Mommys’ demon eyes make it that much funnier,” his mom Erica jokes.
Sunshine, 11: “This ‘child’ is not human but I thought it might fit for your photo gallery, especially since, well, everyone loves a Corgi!” his mom Amy writes. “This pic was taken at a fundraiser for the Louisiana SPCA. I’m pretty obsessed with my dog but I am not quite crazy enough to take her to see Santa if it’s not for charity!”
Claire, 6 and Olivia, 2: “This photo is from 2007 at a church Christmas breakfast in Moses Lake, Washington,” dad Nathan writes.
Mason, 1 and Olivia, 3: “They were not fans of Santa this year!” writes mom Kaitlin.