It is that time of year again. Where parents suddenly decide that the perfect way to celebrate the season would be to dress up their child in their most festive outfit and take them to visit Santa. Many families head home from such outings with a beautiful photograph of their child, or children, grinning happily at the camera and sitting happily with the man in the red suit. These images will get passed around proudly to friends and family who will smile dutifully and tell the parents how lovely their child is.
After the holidays the images will be either packed away with the decorations or stored in a folder on a hard drive. These photos will only see the light of day again when the child in the photo is fully grown and their parents pull out the kiddie pictures to embarrass their child in front of their boyfriend or girlfriend.
Fortunately for us, some Santa visits buck this trend, and the photographs are so special they are shared with everyone and remain funny throughout the year. So, make yourself a hot chocolate with marshmallows on top, push away the wrapping paper, sit back, relax. Enjoy the pain of other parents as they fail to capture the Christmas moment they hoped for but instead caught an epic Santa fail.
15 Wait, Don't Go!
This is one of the most carefully staged Santa grottos ever. Look at the painstakingly arranged wooden wall primarily designed to look randomly thrown together. The ‘accidental’ worn and aged suitcase and the ‘modern interpretation of traditionally made’ stuffed toys.
I bet it cost an absolute fortune to visit this Santa and that the size of the fee was only outweighed by the length of the wait time to get in and sit on his lap.
It is no wonder that this little lady had had enough by the time she got there and made a run for it at the first possible opportunity. Santa himself looks desperate to grab her and get his little patron back for the picture perfect moment mom and dad want. Perhaps he gets paid a commission for kids' smiles.
14 Who ARE You?
This little fella looks like he could be thinking any number of things. First and foremost he is probably wondering “Who is this strange looking man?” Most Santas are big and round in the belly, with sparkly smiling eyes, and a thick furry suit cinched with a thick black leather belt. At least that was the Santa he was shown in the books, and that is nothing like this bogus looking imposter with his tunic hanging open, a grey woolly sweater wrapping up his belly and a pained bored expression on his face.
It would seem he had the good sense to avoid sitting on this stranger's lap and opted for a seat on his own instead. This boy is obviously wise beyond his years and is not going to be fooled by the placating words of his parents.
13 Thank You For My Balloon
Not every epic Santa fail involves tears, screams, or sprints for the door. Some photographs become share-worthy because of the accidental placement of an object and our smutty imaginations. These are usually the best ones!
This may be an older picture, but it doesn’t make it any less funny. There are many questions thrown up by this image: Who on earth gave this little boy the balloon he has in his hands? Why is he holding it in his lap in that way? Why is Santa smiling so broadly at the young child on his lap?
The other thing to remember is that this was pre-electronic photos so the first the parents knew of this image would have been when it dropped on their doormat several days after the Santa visit.
12 Tears Times Three
It must be a bit of a strain being Santa. Not only do you have to keep track of all of the world's children and whether they have been naughty or nice but you have to spend your days in the run-up to Christmas having strangers' children sit on your lap. You have to keep a smile on your face and listen to their lists of demands, and there is always the risk of a lap full of pee.
So it is no wonder that Santa on this occasion, has broken down and started crying too. One screaming, crying toddler at a time must be difficult enough but a pair of them having a breakdown on your lap must be the final straw, especially if it is at the end of your day.
11 I'd Scream Too
On some occasions you can see a Christmas photograph and think “Why on earth would you sit your child down on that man's lap?” and this is one of those occasions. Apparently, this mall was desperate for someone to fill the big red suit so even though this guy is quite clearly considering tucking these two kids under his arm and running away with them, he got the job.
The sisters in the photograph are apparently aware of the true nature of the man in this suit and are not being fooled. They want to get off of his knees and back to their mom and dad while they still can. Even trying to bribe the little one with a balloon didn’t work, she is not going to be fooled.
10 Fair Enough
This looks like the best photo out of a bad bunch. You just know that these two kids had been in the queue for Santa for way too long. They are probably bored, hungry, tired, and entirely uninterested in the visit by this time.
Santa Claus himself also looks like it’s been a long, long day. Instead of putting on a brave face, trying to force the kids to cooperate and smile, he has just gotten to the stage where he’s thinking “sod it, I am just going to roll with it and let them sulk.”
I can’t say I blame him either. A baby on the verge of bawling his tiny heart out and a little girl apparently giving her mom or dad the stink eye off camera, I’d think “To heck with it” too.
9 Not Another One
This is your classic “Mommy save me from this man” Santa fail photo, but we have included it because of the terribly pained look on the big guy's face. He looks like he is about to burst into tears at any moment as well.
Maybe he doesn’t like strange little girls in their Christmas best clothes sitting on his knee? Or perhaps he is from England where he is called Father Christmas and is fed up being called Santa all day? Is it possible that he is just someone's grandad wondering how it all came to be that he is spending his retirement pretending to be jolly old Saint Nick?
Whatever it is that’s going through their heads, neither of the subjects of this photo seems to be happy to be there!
8 Double Trouble
Whenever I see a photograph like this one my first thought is for the mental health of the kids, and I wonder in passing, just how much they are going to have to spend on therapy to get over their fear of men in red and white suits.
My second thought is usually something along the lines of "I wonder who designed that grotto and how much they were paid? It looks like my kids' craft projects threw up on a Pinterest page."
When making the annual pilgrimage to the mall or store to visit Santa, I expect to see some cliched scene with lots of red, green and gold, bored teenagers dressed as elves and dozens of random toys and gifts stacked together. The only exception to this should be if Santa is residing in a log cabin, in which case a big fireplace and lots of rustic elements are permitted.
Neither Mr. nor Mrs. Clause would ever decorate their home like this. There's no time for cutting out snowflakes, skiing or gluing together giant bells to make a wreath.
7 Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus
This little lady is so prettily dressed, with her hair carefully topped with a bow and a timeless black and white coat, she could be visiting Santa at any time from 150 years ago to today. She bought to mind the famous letter Virginia O’Hanlan wrote to the editor of the New York Sun in 1897 asking if there really was a Santa Claus. The editor published her message and replied, telling her, among other things:
“Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.”
The editor finished his letter with “No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.”
6 Santa Snark
I am not at all surprised this girl doesn’t want to sit on Santa’s lap; he doesn’t look like a very nice Santa at all. Saint Nicholas is supposed to be a kind, caring benevolent old man who gives gifts to children in order to share the love of the season. This fella looks like the least kindly Santa ever.
He is more like someone's grumpy old grandpa who never has a good word to say about anyone and believes anyone under the age of 70 is a waste of space.
I can just hear him now, as the little girl makes a run for it. “Oh boo-hoo, I don’t want to sit on Santa's lap. What a shame your mom and dad made an effort to pay for you to come see me. If you were my kid, I would make you sit here and smile or else. In my day we didn’t get to come and see Santa. We didn’t have stockings either, just socks and we were lucky if we got an orange in them.”
You get the idea!
5 This Is YOUR Fault
Don’t you just want to bend down and scoop this poor little boy up in your arms and give him a great big hug? This sad soul doesn’t want to sit on the scary stranger's lap, but instead of trying to comfort him Santa just gives the parents the stink eye.
You know what he is thinking “I don’t get paid enough to try and calm down screaming kids. If you want a happy picture, you can calm him down. He is your kid after all.”
I think the kid might have been OK and believed it was Father Christmas; the outfit is convincing if it were not for those giant 1980’s pimp glasses he is wearing. I mean, come on now, everyone knows Santa has delicate little specs. Details, people, details.
4 Creepy Creepy Santa
In central Europe, Saint Nicholas is accompanied by a companion named Krampus who is half man and half goat.The children in this region not only have to be good to receive a gift but if they are bad, they get a visit from Krampus, instead of Santa.
Krampus carries ‘ruten’ which is a bundle of birch sticks which he may put in your stocking, or he may beat the naughty kids with them instead. The best you can expect from Krampus is a lump of coal.
This picture obviously shows Krampus, dressed up as Santa in an effort to infiltrate children's lives and find out how naughty they have been.
Either that or he is some random serial killer who has wandered into the studio and been co-opted as a last minute stand-in.
3 Ewww Gross
The expression on this big brother's face is truly priceless. His utter disgust and disdain for his baby sister is comedy gold and the way in which Santa Claus is leaning in with that conspiratory look on his face just rounds his beautiful image off.
I like to imagine Santa's whispering “It’s ok kid, she’ll grow out of it and to make up for the trouble she's causing, I leave whatever you like under the tree this year, it’s the least I can do.”
Or perhaps the little boy is a bit of a fashion fan and is just grimacing because he has caught sight of the particularly nasty mustard colored shirt Santa is wearing under his red and white duds.
It doesn’t matter, either way, if you are having a down moment during the holiday season, take a quick look at this photo, and you won’t be able to stop that smile.
2 What Are You Going To Do?
The little sister in this image looks like she is on the fence and could quickly fall into a bucket full of giggles or a bucket full of screams. Staring off at whoever is behind the camera, you can just imagine whoever is there, desperately making smiling faces and their voice getting progressively higher as they try to keep her on the happy side.
Meanwhile, her big brother is staring up at Saint Nicholas in either fear or distrust as Santa's fluffy white beard is pulled away from his face and his real grey stubble is exposed for all of the world to see.
His little face says it all: “Who are you? I wanted to see Santa, and you’re not him. I’ve been lied to.” You are looking at the exact moment his life changed forever.
1 OK We're Done
Finally, we have a photograph that might just sum up a lot of people's holiday season perfectly. Both Santa and this little fella are sitting there looking like they would rather be anywhere else than here.
The boredom of posing for photos with people you don’t really know and certainly don’t really like. The disappointment of having opened all of your presents and discovering nothing but socks, ugly sweaters and the kind of toiletries that only a grandparent would buy. Going into the kitchen and finding out someone has already picked the bowl of leftover stuffing clean. Waiting around for something to happen and counting the minutes until you can politely duck out and go and have some real fun with people you like. All of this is distilled into this one fabulous photo!