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Santaphobia Uncovered: Unraveling the Fear of Santa Claus

Have you ever heard of Santaphobia? You read it right. It affects both children and adults during this festive season.

By SalgadoPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 2 min read
Top Story - December 2023

Christmas has arrived. We're all excited to see Santa, exchange gifts, and spread holiday joy. But for some people, especially young children, this season is filled with fear, anxiety, and the dread of encountering the famous man dressed in red in person. This fear is known as Santaphobia.

Note: Some may refer to it as coulrophobia, understanding it as the irrational fear of clowns. But please, don't lump the generous and kind-hearted fellow who visits us every year-end into that category.

Why Some Are Afraid of Santa Claus?

I know it. Santaphobia may seem absurd, but the reasons behind it can be quite understandable. Let's put the great Santa Claus on the radar, analyzing him from a child's perspective.

One: Whatever Santa is, he's a stranger. Literally. Parents always warn their children never to talk to strangers, let alone accept gifts from them. And truth be told, Santa Claus, while a symbol of joy and generosity, is technically a stranger... he comes with gifts and a big smile, we don't deny that, but in a child's mind, he fits exactly what mom and dad have warned about: not a family member or a friend. This could cause confusion and fear in some little ones. And that's normal.

Two: The gentleman has a strange appearance. Let's be honest: that red suit, the big white beard, the hat with a ball on top, his imposing size, and those gestures... well... the truth is, they can be a bit quirky for a child.

Three: The Santa narrative. With the habit of sneaking into houses at night to bring gifts and his peculiar habit of monitoring children to see if they behave well, it might be uncomfortable and could seem creepy and intimidating to some kids.

Spotting Santaphobia. Warning Signs.

Either way, if you see a girl or boy a little anxious during the holiday season, if they're afraid of movies and decorations related to Santa, agitated around his image, or worried about the idea of the man in the red hat entering their room at night when they're alone, it might be because they're experiencing it.

But there are some effective tips on how to act and react to someone experiencing Santaphobia.

Overcoming the mood…

Helping someone overcome Santaphobia isn't a one-size-fits-all solution but can be achieved by:

- Gradual Exposure: It's about calmly familiarizing the child throughout the year with images and stories related to Santa until they feel more comfortable.

- You could also set boundaries: Allow the child the option to avoid Santa if they feel uncomfortable. Don't force them to hug him or sit on his lap if they don't want to. Although for you, the chubby red guy might be a great friend, for them, it might be a source of intimidation. Listen to the child's concerns and validate their feelings. It doesn't have to seem fantastic to everyone to hang out with that red and good-natured fellow.

Could your child or your beloved nephew possibly have Santaphobia? Has it happened to you? Did it happen to you when you were little? Had you heard that name? Do you know of any cases?

Anyway, Santaphobia is an overlooked and often misunderstood phenomenon. So, it's crucial to understand that, for some, the symbol of the loving and generous Santa Claus can induce genuine fear. By empathizing with their feelings and providing a supportive environment, individuals suffering from Santaphobia can gradually overcome their fears and join in the holiday fun in their own way.

Ok, take a breath, raise your glasses… and now… let us celebrate, dear friends!


About the Creator


Born in Colombia. Living in Woodinville, WA. I love fiction and enjoy both horror and humor; or death and life, however you want to take it.

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Comments (4)

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  • tarun bhattabout a month ago

    I have seen my nephew dealing with something like this. I thought he was making it up.

  • Naveed 2 months ago

    This was so wonderful! I loved it! Hope you're doing well! congratulations!

  • Novel Allen2 months ago

    The biggest Santaphobia is not seeing any presents on Xmas day. Santa does not go everywhere, some only see him in their imagination. But, it is A ok. Happy holidays. Congrats on TS.

  • Scott Christenson2 months ago

    Funny topic! I was def very afraid of the shopping mall santa was I was a little boy.

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