You probably have one of these photos in your archive: a child crying on Santa’s lap. The mother who shared this picture says the “sudden terror” happened just as she handed over her 18-month-old son to St. Nick.
PHOTO BY: Don Sumerford
What a Difference a Few Years Makes
1958: Greensboro, N.C.
The saying “You’re wiser with age” rings true here. You can see the oldest child (far right) knows that if you’re nice to Santa, he’ll bring presents — while the other two children look scared and confused.
PHOTO BY: Rhonda Long
How About That Smile?
1963: Washington, D.C.
Where did you go to see Santa when you were a child? For Rhonda Thomas-Long, it was the Hecht Co. department store. She was 3 when this picture was taken.
PHOTO BY: Dan McCracken
Christmas Toppers, Check!
1959: Whittier, Calif.
Finding that perfect outfit for the kids to wear on Santa’s lap was a thing back then — and still is today. Wonder what Danny McCracken (left) and his brother Mike told Santa they wanted for Christmas?
PHOTO BY: Courtesy Kathy Chase
Christmas Picture Bonnet
1949: Omaha, Neb.
With a bonnet on her head and a deep look into Santa’s eyes, this girl looks like something out of a magazine. The picture was taken at J.L. Brandeis and Sons, a department store chain that was headquartered in Omaha.
PHOTO BY: Bernard Ohanian
Sit Up and Smile!
1960s: Los Angeles County, Calif.
Well, he got half the picture right. Bernard Ohanian was grinning from ear to ear as he sat on Santa’s lap. If only he'd sat up straight. But it’s pictures like these that people remember the most.
PHOTO BY: Mary Cameron
Should I Cry?
1959: Morrilton, Ark.
Mary Tarlton wasn't sure how she felt about talking to the jolly old man in the red suit, but she managed to keep it together — at least until the shutter was clicked.
PHOTO BY: Courtesy Kathleen Zwart
1950s: Joliet, Ill.
Getting all the little ones ready to see Santa can be a lot of work: You don’t just have to worry about one smile, but three. In this picture, the youngest of these three siblings obviously wasn't thrilled to be sitting on Santa’s lap. At least she wasn’t crying.
PHOTO BY: Patti Navarro
Oh, How Sweet
1955: Los Angeles
For this little girl, a trip to the Broadway department store in Los Angeles meant a visit to Santa. She didn’t shy away from his bushy white beard.
PHOTO BY: June Harvey
Have You Been Naughty or Nice?
1980: Rootstown, Ohio
Who knows how these two siblings from Ohio answered Santa’s big question, and where Scott Vojtkofsky and his sister, Tara, appeared on Santa's list?
PHOTO BY: June Harvey
Santa, I Have Something to Tell You
1954: Akron, Ohio
Do you remember making a list of things to tell Santa you wanted for Christmas? It looks like June (right) and Joan Harvey (center) had a lot to unload on St. Nick.
PHOTO BY: Amanda Tinkham Boltax
The Perfect Picture
1966: Los Angeles, Calif.
Sitting straight up? Check. Cute expression? Check. Not crying? Check. How many tries did it take to get this perfect picture of Amanda Tinkham with Santa?
PHOTO BY: Margie Wirth
1947: Janesville, Wis.
Bob Wirth’s son helped find this timeless photo of his father. Santa hasn’t changed much over the years, has he?
PHOTO BY: Brett Carlsen
Also of Interest
Which one is Santa? Well, all 1,000 hope to be — that is, if they make it through Santa University in Colorado.