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The Many Forms of Santa

When I was a little girl about 2 or 3 years old like some kids I was afraid of Santa. There is nothing really strange about that many children are afraid of Santa. Me on the other hand was only afraid of certain depictions of Santa; mainly when he was played by a live action person.

If you are too young to remember before the internet 976 and 1-900 numbers were a form of information and entrainment. The problem back then was that the 976 and 1-900 commercials were always on. You couldn’t escape them. The commercials were on during cartoons, game shows, soaps, the local news, old movies, and late night tv. Although I didn’t watch late night tv back then. I think my bedtime was like 8PM.

Back in about somewhere between 1986-1989 the 976 and 1-900 commercials marketed to children were rampant on tv. It seemed like every commercial break there would be at least one of those commercials. All those commercials were awful in their own right, but the Santa ones seemed to bother me the most.


I think the combination of my fear of live action Santa combined with my annoyance of those commercials fed my fear. I just wanted to watch Dennis the Menace cartoons in peace. The only time I did get a break while watching tv was when I would watch PBS.

No other forms of Santa bothered me. I was fine with watching in stop motion like in the Rudolph Red Nosed Reindeer special. 

Cartoons didn’t bother me. 

Not even decorations scared me. 

Well most of them anyway.

One day when I think I was about 3 my dad got the bright idea to take me to the mall to meet Santa. The problem was he didn’t tell me that was what we were doing. Actually that is the way most things are with my dad he takes me somewhere to surprise me and not tell me what we are doing, and usually it ended in disaster more than something fun and memorable. My dad and Santa coaxed me to come near Santa. Santa told me if I came up to him I’d get candy. Santa had really good candy too; Brach’s caramel Royals. Not even candy could get me near Santa. I got so scared I ran crying into the Mervyn’s looking for my mother. He waved the candy at me to try to get me to come back. Luckily no photographic evidence exists of this. And I haven’t taken a picture with Santa since.

The strange thing was I was not afraid of the Easter Bunny. During that time there are a few pictures of me with the Easter Bunny. I was also not afraid of the characters at Disneyland.

I think when I was about 5 or 6 years old I got over my fear of Santa, but those old Santa hotline commercials still creep me out as an adult.

 Especially this one. 

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Fulton4V Posted on Dec 19, 2013 at 03:26 PM

I was always afraid of santa because he would not bring me the presents I asked for if I was not good that year. It made me nervous to talk to him when we saw him. Ha!

pikachulover Posted on Dec 18, 2013 at 07:53 AM

I think for me the fear stemmed from me thinking Santa was involved with those shady telephone number business people.

I have a cousin, and when she was a kid she was afraid of all Santa things even drawings in books and wooden Christmas ornaments.

SegaFanatic Posted on Dec 17, 2013 at 08:00 PM

Intresting article, never seen this before!

Vaporman87 Posted on Dec 17, 2013 at 03:18 PM

What is it about Santa (the live action ones) that so many children fear? Both of my sons DO NOT want anything to do with him, though they sure do love the presents he brings!

I don't remember a time when I ever feared Santa, but I'm sure there was one. It's almost like a rite of passage for children to overcome the fear of hopping up on his lap to list your wants that year.

What I like about this most, is that I had completely forgotten about the old 900 numbers you could use to call Santa. I personally never used them, but I remember now all the commercials that aired each year. Funny stuff.

Thanks for this pikachulover!

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