The secrets of Santa's grotto

Emma Woollacott
Santa holding a bag full ofchristmas gifts. He is sitting in his animated grotto. Horizontal image.
Santa holding a bag full ofchristmas gifts. He is sitting in his animated grotto. Horizontal image.

Nearly half of us will have to do some work over the Christmas break - despite the fact that most businesses give their staff no special recognition for doing so. It's enough to make Scrooges of us all.

And according to CV-Library, it can drive workers mad, thanks to stressed customers, irritating festive music and missing out on parties and family time.

Watch: Dad makes reindeer drone so Santa finds their house

But there's one particular Christmas job that brings a set of problems all of its own. Sometimes infuriating, sometimes heart-breaking, standing in for Santa is like no other job on Earth - and, over on Reddit, former Santas have been sharing their stories. Here are some of their stranger Christmas tales.

The Navy party
"Santa for a kid's party my Navy command threw one year. One girl asked for her real daddy not to come back from deployment, because the one that stayed there while he was gone was a lot nicer. I... err..."

The party for disadvantaged kids
"One little boy asked me for a Nintendo and I said 'I'll see what I can do', and then a few kids later, his older sister came up and said "I don't want anything, but could you get my little brother a Nintendo? He wants one so bad." - It broke my heart so bad I almost started crying right then and there."

The fish-killing Santa
"Five-year-old boy: 'I want an orange goldfish! Santa, you have to bring the fish in water, okay? Fish need water to live!
Friend: ~chuckles~ The fish will come with water, I promise!
Boy: And you have to feed it! They sell fish food at Walmart.
Friend: Uh, okay. The elves will make sure -
Boy: And you can't leave it in the sleigh! It will FREEZE AND DIE!
Friend: Don't worry, nothing will happen to the fish.
Boy: And it can't stay in the bag because it won't have air.
Friend: I have many requests for fish, and they've all gone to their homes safely. Don't worry.
Boy: You don't understand! You're magic! Animals need food and water and air!
Friend: Uh...
Boy: ~jumps off Santa's lap, very exasperated~ MOM, SANTA'S GOING TO KILL MY FISH."

Could you be an elf this Christmas?

The would-be murderer
"When I worked on a Christmas tree farm a kid told me he wanted an axe for Christmas. I thought he was just being a kid and saw the saws and stuff we had and was like 'neat, things', so I was like 'Haha, why would you want that?" and he was like "So I can kill my sister and get her presents."

The little accident
"I had a child pee on me last year. Looking forward to this year."

The serial killer
"Some kid with glasses said he wanted a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle. I just sent him down the slide."

Christmas gift ideas for kids

The giant pet
"He asked for a pet whale. The sad part was that it seemed like he was under the impression this was a possible thing."

And the extinct pet
"I want a pack of ...ahh (struggling with words) dinner-sauce!
Me: Dinner sauce? Are you sure? Like, what kind of sauce?
Kid: No! dinner-sauce! Like with green dinner-sauce, big dinner-sauce with big teef, and dinner sauce that flies!
Me: I'm not sure (look questioningly at kid's mom. Kid runs away and comes back with a coloring book)
Kid shows the book: see? dinnersauce!
Me: oh...dinosaurs."