Three generations of children meeting Santa

Mall Santas making three generations of kids cry Internet hysteria

A collage of photos showing Santa Claus traumatizing three generations of children has the internet hysterical.

In a post shared on Reddit’s Aww forum on Nov. 28, user John Usher (u/upandattem) shared a collage of photos of his wife, daughter, and grandson as children sitting on the Santa’s lap.

Although the images are taken years apart and feature different Santas, the child in each image reacted the same way, screaming at the top of their voices.

Reddit users couldn’t get enough of the snaps, with the post receiving over 87,000 upvotes and over 1,000 comments.

Three generations of children meeting Santa Claus
John Usher has shared the snaps of his wife, daughter and grandson meeting Santa Claus for the first time. Despite decades apart, their reactions were eerily similar.
Jean Usher

Why do we take children to sit on Santa’s lap?

Although Saint Nicholas, aka “the real Santa Claus”, lived in Turkey between 220 and 343 AD, the man in the red suit we all know is a more recent invention.

Santa Claus began to become popular in the United States in the late 1700s, due to Dutch settlers honoring the death of “Sinter Klaas” (a short version of Sint Nikolaas, the Dutch name for Saint Nicholas). Known as the protector of children and sailors, the first Saint Nick gave his inherited wealth to the needy, poor and sick, while dressed in red.

In the 1820s, retailers began to promote the idea of ​​”Christmas gifts” and Santa Claus was a popular marketing tool. The first department store Santa is said to have been James Edgar. A Brockton, Massachusetts entrepreneur, Edgar donned a Santa Claus costume one day in December 1890 to welcome children to his store.

Lynn Usher sitting on Santa's lap
The original photograph, taken in 1960, showed Lynn at 19 months old and clearly not enjoying her first encounter with Santa Claus.
Jean Usher

But where does the tradition of the “Santa Claus trick” come from? No one knows for sure, but the photo aspect is said to have started in Seattle in 1943 with a “meet and greet” Santa Claus at the Frederick and Nelson department store. The trend has been popular for nearly 80 years. When Macy’s held its first Kris Kringle event in 2017, parents had to make reservations for their children to sit on its lap, while official mall Santa conventions have been going on since 2006.

However, a visit to Santa Claus is not always a happy experience for children. Last year, a clip of two siblings freaking out as they sat with a Santa Claus in a mall received more than 14 million views on TikTok, sparking debate over the lore.

“I can see the family resemblance”

Captioned “My wife, daughter and grandson sitting on Santa’s lap…sixty years apart”, the hilarious photos show history repeating itself over three generations.

The first photo of John’s wife, Lynn, was taken in 1960, when she was 19 months old. The second, of the couple’s daughter Marlena, was taken in 1989, when she was 15 months old, while the Santa snap of their 19-month-old grandson Camden is brand new for 2022.

Lynn Usher swears the kids in her family don’t hate Santa, despite what the pictures suggest.

Marlena Usher meets Santa in 1989
Like her mother before her, John and Lynn’s daughter Marlena’s first encounter with Santa Claus in 1989 didn’t go well either.
Jean Usher

Speaking about her daughter and grandson’s experiences of Santa Claus, she recounted Newsweek“I think the kids were just the age where they’re scared of most strangers.

“After they were initially placed on his lap, they were happy…but once they turned around and saw him, they cried.

“After quickly taking a picture, they were pulled from Santa’s lap and they stopped crying instantly.”

However, John Usher said that in the years since, their daughter has had much more positive experiences with Santa Claus.

“She always wanted to sit on his lap and never cry again,” he said. Newsweek.

Camden, Landry and Rowan meet Santa, 2022
This year, Marlena’s youngest son Camden (centre) also got to meet Santa for now, but even the presence of his brothers Landry and Rowan didn’t stop the tears.
Iris Gloria Photography/John Usher

Editors couldn’t get enough of the photos, with the user followed by ferrets suggesting the couple “frame” them.

“So what you’re saying is the fear of Santa Claus is genetic,” Rolandscythe said.

“I can see the family resemblance,” commented Grouchy Old Boomer.

“The correct answer to getting thrown into a stranger’s lap,” wrote LittleBitOdd.

Users also had a lot of thoughts on the three Santas, with DrunkenOlympian writing, “Well, Santas sure got better!

“The first two seem to prefer to be literally anywhere else. The third gets an A+!”

“The first Santa looks SO DONE,” EVLokadottr commented.

“Santa #2 looks like a teenager,” MissGruntled said.

While SummitCO83 wrote, “Love Santa with your grandson. The other two look like they don’t want to live in their eyes anymore.”

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