Going to meet Santa at the mall is a ritual that some love and some hate, but most bravely do it anyway at some point. To set your kids on Santa’s lap and get that adorable photo that you can put in your Christmas cards to satisfy the grandparents, you have to stand in line with Christmas music on repeat and dozens of other families in the same situation while the kids are sick and tired of waiting (or literally sick.) But it’s probably nothing compared to what the job is like for the man himself.

Anyone who puts on a red velvet suit and plays the beloved role of Father Christmas must be a kind and patient soul indeed. You would have to be in order to spread Christmas magic to hundreds of kids in a row, including taming the ones who would rather be anywhere else. But here are some situations that probably weren’t in the job description, from people bringing their four-legged children to sit on Santa’s lap, to grown-ups who just love Christmas so much that they keep coming back year after year.

See how professional Santa performers deal with the unexpected in these pictures, and upvote your favorites! While you're waiting for the big day, you can also look back on our lists of the best and worst Christmas decorations, and people whose Christmas wasn't very merry.

#1

While Waiting In Line To See Santa, This Baby Fell Asleep. When It Came Time For The Picture, Santa Told The Parents Not To Wake Him

While Waiting In Line To See Santa, This Baby Fell Asleep. When It Came Time For The Picture, Santa Told The Parents Not To Wake Him

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teeshy hedding
Community Member
10 months ago

that Santa's so nice!

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#2

I Took My Dog To Take A Christmas Picture With Santa And She Ate Him

I Took My Dog To Take A Christmas Picture With Santa And She Ate Him

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teeshy hedding
Community Member
10 months ago

I though the dog was his beard at first!

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#3

My 92 Year Old Grandma Said She's Never Been To See Santa. Change Of Plans This Christmas

My 92 Year Old Grandma Said She's Never Been To See Santa. Change Of Plans This Christmas

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DforDorothy
Community Member
10 months ago

After this she might be seeing Santa more often than once a year! So lovely! 😊

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Some things never change. That's what some of these Santa performers must think when they get visitors who keep coming back even as they grow up. One pair of brothers has a whole slideshow of pictures with Santa over 30 years, eventually adding their own children to the picture!

Want to know another thing that never changes? A Canadian mall Santa who has been doing the job every Christmas season for 35 years says that although the types of presents that kids ask him for have changed with the introduction of more electronics, Legos are a classic that have stuck around.

#4

My Santa Doesn’t Age (1997-2017)

My Santa Doesn’t Age (1997-2017)

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AV7
Community Member
10 months ago

Real santa don't

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#5

So, My Dog Met Santa Claus

So, My Dog Met Santa Claus

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Emerald Joanna
Community Member
10 months ago

That dog has seen some shit

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#6

Took The Kids To Meet Santa Yesterday And, As You Can See, It Went Amazing

Took The Kids To Meet Santa Yesterday And, As You Can See, It Went Amazing

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Pseudo Puppy
Community Member
10 months ago

Let's be real about the dynamic of "Santa photos"....we're forcing kids to sit on the lap of some old man that they don't know, and to be happy about it. When I was a kid, I HATED it.... Why on earth did the adults think this was "fun" for me, when 99% of the rest of the time, they were telling me to NOT talking to people i didn't know? Seriously. :o

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Professional Santa performers⁠—and, yes, they say the job requires somebody who can put on a show⁠—who are really serious about their craft go to Santa training schools with whimsical names like "Northern Lights Santa Academy." There, they learn not only lore about the role and how to accurately talk about reindeer, but the business practicals of self-promotion and getting private bookings.

#7

My Friend Brought Her Dog To See Santa Recently

My Friend Brought Her Dog To See Santa Recently

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Dorothy Parker
Community Member
10 months ago

Beautiful matching smiles.

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#8

My Favorite Shot From Our Christmas Shoot This Year

My Favorite Shot From Our Christmas Shoot This Year

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teeshy hedding
Community Member
10 months ago

I did not know that finger when I was their age

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#9

My Mom Said "Damn" In Front Of Santa. This Was The Reaction

My Mom Said "Damn" In Front Of Santa. This Was The Reaction

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The Shadow
Community Member
10 months ago

No presents for you this year!

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There's also increasing demand for not just Santa performers, but also Mrs. Claus, say women who have stepped into the role in recent years. Maybe soon you'll be able to choose which visitor from the North Pole you'll want to take your kids to visit.

#10

Holiday Shopping Can Put A Smile On Even The Most Kvlt Person In Your Life! What’s Your Favorite Holiday Tradition?

Holiday Shopping Can Put A Smile On Even The Most Kvlt Person In Your Life! What’s Your Favorite Holiday Tradition?

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Dorothy Parker
Community Member
10 months ago

Respect.

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#11

Got A Pic With Santa... He Said I Was Too Big... We Compromised...

Got A Pic With Santa... He Said I Was Too Big... We Compromised...

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Dorothy Parker
Community Member
10 months ago (edited)

I think Santa recognized the next Santa in him and had to do the required try out. You're next when he retires. You may start noticing your beard slowly turning grey, then white...

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#12

My Son Started To Cry When He Saw Santa, So I Decided It'd Be A Good Idea If We All Joined To

My Son Started To Cry When He Saw Santa, So I Decided It'd Be A Good Idea If We All Joined To

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Meredith Glenn
Community Member
10 months ago

Ok, that’s so cute

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Performers say that while playing Santa pays well, it takes a large investment at the start for a quality costume. And, of course, a great love for Christmas spirit and children, not to mention a philosophy of kindness and wisdom that follows them all year round.

#13

Mommy's Lil Monster Meets Santa & Krampus

Mommy's Lil Monster Meets Santa & Krampus

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Don Golosso
Community Member
10 months ago

He is already at the dark side! 🤘🏽

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#14

Another Year, Another Photo With Santa

Another Year, Another Photo With Santa

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European other
Community Member
10 months ago (edited)

None of them have aged. Good for them !

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#15

My Friends And I Got Our Picture Taken With Santa

My Friends And I Got Our Picture Taken With Santa

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Allan Breum
Community Member
10 months ago

"Paint me like one of your North Pole girls."

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#16

We Dressed Up Our 18 Month Old Daughter To See Santa. She Was Not Pleased

We Dressed Up Our 18 Month Old Daughter To See Santa. She Was Not Pleased

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ADHORTATOR
Community Member
10 months ago

I see murder in her eyes....

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#17

My Dad Is The Macy's Santa In Seattle. Today He Got To Meet A Legend!

My Dad Is The Macy's Santa In Seattle. Today He Got To Meet A Legend!

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Dorothy Parker
Community Member
10 months ago

Even better; Conan got to meet Santa!🎄

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#18

My Dad Was Santa At Our Local Petsmart, Was Not Expecting This

My Dad Was Santa At Our Local Petsmart, Was Not Expecting This

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Calum Sanderson
Community Member
10 months ago

"I've made a terrible mistake"

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#19

This Woman Took Her Cats To A Department Store To Visit Santa And As You Can See It Went Quite Well

This Woman Took Her Cats To A Department Store To Visit Santa And As You Can See It Went Quite Well

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Don Golosso
Community Member
10 months ago

Why would you do this to your cats? I know that, if I want to stay alive, I will never risk this!

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#20

My Nephew Meeting Santa For The First Time

My Nephew Meeting Santa For The First Time

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Tenay Douglas
Community Member
10 months ago

The babys like "Whaatttt?!"

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#21

How Many Kids Do You See?

How Many Kids Do You See?

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Dorothy Parker
Community Member
10 months ago

Ever so often families have a child who's upside down or has a different perspective.

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#22

Nancy Reagan Sitting On Mr. T's Lap

Nancy Reagan Sitting On Mr. T's Lap

Mr. T was a surprise guest at the first day of the press tour of the White House Christmas Decorations.

She was standing next to him and my dad (who was friends with Nancy) said "How about sitting on his lap?"She looked at her press secretary for approval then said "Sure!" and sat down.

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Michelle Chevalier
Community Member
10 months ago

Great pic!!!!

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#23

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

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2WheelTravlr
Community Member
10 months ago

That is a mom with one great sense of humor! Looks like she's gonna need it.

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#24

34 Years Photos With Santa - Annual Tradition

34 Years Photos With Santa - Annual Tradition

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Demonic Darkness
Community Member
10 months ago

Santa turned into gandalf

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#25

Past Five Years Of Mall Santa Photos With My Brothers

Past Five Years Of Mall Santa Photos With My Brothers

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Dorothy Parker
Community Member
10 months ago

Santa must enjoy these visits.

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#26

Ho Ho Ho!

Ho Ho Ho!

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HorrorWeirdo
Community Member
10 months ago

I legitimately LOVE this and wish I have friends like this...

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#27

Santa Looking Like Hes Gonna Risk It All

Santa Looking Like Hes Gonna Risk It All

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Dorothy Parker
Community Member
10 months ago

He's behaving. Eyes where they should be. Mom and baby both stunning.

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#28

My Friend Is Santa At Bass Pro (Among Other Places). He Had An Unexpected Visitor

My Friend Is Santa At Bass Pro (Among Other Places). He Had An Unexpected Visitor

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Calum Sanderson
Community Member
10 months ago

I don't understand why we haven't yet got a Deadpool Christmas Special

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#29

My 3 Month Old Son With A Look Of Shock Only He Could Pull Off At Being Sat On Santa’s Lap

My 3 Month Old Son With A Look Of Shock Only He Could Pull Off At Being Sat On Santa’s Lap

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Soggy Crumpet
Community Member
10 months ago

That face should be a meme. Love it!

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#30

My Mum Has Been Making Me Get A Santa Photo Every Year Since I Was Born. This Year I Had A Little Bit Of Fun With It

My Mum Has Been Making Me Get A Santa Photo Every Year Since I Was Born. This Year I Had A Little Bit Of Fun With It

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Francis
Community Member
10 months ago

that's what happens when you are a naughty boy :D

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Note: this post originally had 36 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.

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