Each year at Christmas, thousands of kids are encouraged to climb onto a stranger's lap where he grills them about their behavior and then they are supposed to ask him for toys. The kids are dressed in their finest red and green clothing, their hair styled perfectly, and then dragged to a crowded mall to wait in line to see a fat old man with a big white beard. Put like that, it sounds kind of odd, yet many families treasure the tradition and we have 30 modern and vintage photos of kids sitting on Santa's lap to prove it.
Santa is a legendary figure in the world of Christmas and the idea of getting a photo with him is often too irresistible. Many families use a Santa's lap photo for their holiday cards and many proudly display the yearly photos in their homes. It's such a lure that shopping malls build their entire Christmas displays around Santa and his elves (plus the photographer and helpful mall workers).
Of course when kids are involved, even the most well planned outings can go awry. And to many kids, it's pretty scary to sit on a stranger's lap, especially one with a beard so long it covers most of his face. Which means that it's not a huge surprise when the little ones get teary eyed as they sit there. Many will writhe and try to fight their way out of the situation, but the photographer still manages to get that photo and the parents will buy it, or snap it quickly on their own, realizing that they've gotten a very real (and often pretty funny) memory of that year's Christmas. Poking fun at this, Jimmy Kimmel even has a new tradition of showing a cropped photo of a child's crying face and asking the audience to guess if the child is on Santa's lap or getting a flu shot. Apparently the trauma is not so different.
We thought it would be fun to look back at Christmases past and present to commemorate the Santa's lap tradition and with it, the good, the bad and the hysterically crying. So sit back, and take a trip down memory lane with these photos funny photos of kids sitting on Santa's lap that go as far back as the '50s. Oh, and see if you can spot a trend.
Here Santa appears to be lecturing the kids about being nice, vs. naughty. He's also not wearing glasses — guess his vision better back then.
Hmm, this Santa looks questionably sober TBH.
One child is definitely looking nicer than the other in this one.
These adorable kids had to get all bundled up to greet Santa outdoors.
Christmas in Wisconsin.
Nice chair, Santa! Very regal.
Even a lollipop couldn't make it better.
This picture is even more perfect with the Christmas leggings which look like they cost more than the wrinkled backdrop. Guess they didn't have steamers back then.
The jean jacket and the wood paneling are pure 70's. Also this Santa is chill AF.
Either this Santa is overheated or the makeup crew went a little heavy on the rosy cheeks.
Even with Dad's comfy lap and Mom's best efforts, she couldn't be convinced. Also, wait, is this a Valentine's Day Santa? That's some pretty festive decor — for a different holiday.
Santa's beard is so thick, it must have been hard to hear all the "ho ho hos."
Is Santa wearing leather pants here?
A kid crying on Santa's lap is pretty comical, but a pissed off one? That takes the cake.
Baby Hallie is not loving Santa's lap — but that oversized velvet chair looks pretty comfy.
We spot one kid who is pretty pleased to be meeting Santa to tell him all about her Christmas list, and one who wants to get out of there, stat.
This is how it's supposed to go down: everyone happy, even the dog!
So cute, but so sad. Love those boots tho!
This is one distressed baby, but older sis is not letting her little sister ruin this moment for her.
GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!
Double sadness = double laughs for us.
Nope, that little one is not buying it. Not one bit.
This Santa's lap was clearly very comfortable.
Santa, I'll take these spectacles, thank you very much.
Kind of into this abstract piece, especially with these cute tots who are not having the time of their lives.
There is no way we would've believed that this was the real Santa either without his signature hat. Someone save these kids!
Even the tiniest babies fine the whole meeting-Santa setup a little bit suspicious. Or maybe she's just sneezing.
What we wouldn't give to know what's going in the older kid's head.
This is a cute "make a silly face" moment.
This adorable baby cannot believe that his parents let Santa hold him. We feel you, kid!
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