Scary Santa / Sweet Santa 2014

in Santa

What began as a bit of a joke in 2012 is now officially an HTP tradition – it’s the Scary Santa / Sweet Santa Contest.


Ho, ho, ho!  It’s that time of the year again.  Wear your holiday best and smile your sweetest smiles!  Or… Wipe the sweat off your brow as you hold on tight to screaming babies and thrashing toddlers!  A visit to Santa could go either way…


You can see the 2012 Sweet entries here and the 2012 Scary entries here. And you can see the 2013 Sweet entries on this post and the 2013 Scary entries right here.

PicMonkey Collage

Here’s how it works:  You email me a photograph of your kiddo with Santa.  My e-mail is  Deadline is December 21.  Write either Scary Santa or Sweet Santa in the subject line so I can easily organize the emails.  Include your kiddo’s name (or first initial or pseudonym, whichever you prefer) and, if you want, a brief description of the encounter.  Know that, by emailing me, I will put the kid’s picture on the Interwebs for everyone to see; therefore, don’t email me photos of your super cute niece or your hysterically screaming nephew unless you’re their legal guardian.


I will compile all the pictures into a post, choose 5 finalists for each category, and readers will vote on the best Sweet or Scary picture.  The winner will get a TBD prize, as well as blog fame and glory.  Woo hoo!


The Scary Santa photos are judged based on the following categories: the overall creepiness of Santa; Santa’s own freaked out/exhaustion face; and the oh-so-dramatic expression on the kiddo’s face.  And let’s not take Scary Santa pictures TOO seriously – I’m sure Scary Santa pics aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s kind of a childhood right of passage, isn’t it?  Trust me – I have my own Scary Santa pictures, and the 1985-version of me looks pretty damn funny as I scream in (poor, poor) Santa’s face.


The Sweet Santa pictures are judged based on the cuteness of the kiddo; the realism of Santa (bonus points for real beards!); and tender expressions of true holiday joy/Santa belief.


Happy Holidays!  May all your visits to Santa be super sweet.  <3 <3 <3



  • Christina @ The Beautiful Balance December 2, 2014, 12:20 pm

    This is seriously hilarious haha! I can’t wait to see all the entries!

  • Kristal December 2, 2014, 2:07 pm

    So excited! I love this contest, can’t wait to see the winners!

  • Whitney December 2, 2014, 2:23 pm

    I love this idea- I have a hilarious picture of my sister and I from when we were young. I am happy and smiling and she is screaming bloody murder! I guess that would fall in both categories. My best friend is due soon and I keep checking your posts to see if you’ve had your little one! Happy Holidays 🙂

  • Monica December 2, 2014, 2:28 pm

    My (now 15 year old) niece was always terrified of my dad when he dressed up like Santa, which he’d done every year for our town’s children for our whole lives. We couldn’t figure out why she was so scared, but when she was 3 or 4 (old enough to finally communicate clearly) after another failed attempt to sit on “Santa’s” lap, she finally went to my sister (her mom) with tears in her eyes and said, “Why does Santa have Grandpa’s eyes?”. We all felt so bad that we’d been subjecting her to this terrifying feeling for so long without realizing why she was so upset! Now it is just funny, though. She’s still too smart for her own good…

  • katie December 2, 2014, 11:31 pm

    Love this on the blog again! I was coming on here half expecting a baby picture – thinking it might be a girl! 😉

  • Grace December 3, 2014, 9:24 am

    Maybe I’m just a stick-in-the-mud, but I really hate crying baby/toddler pictures, and crying-kids-with-Santa pictures in particular. I know that most people think it’s just in good fun, but forcing a child to sit on a stranger’s lap when they don’t want to, then photographing it and broadcasting that picture (without the child’s consent) for the larger world to laugh at? I know it seems so minor, but after you mentioned The Gift of Fear in another recent post, the idea of a forcing a small child or baby to go against their instincts and be held by some strange man for the parent’s entertainment really rubs me the wrong way. And I know some kids are excited about seeing Santa and then start crying once they are on his lap, but still… to ignore/laugh at/make light of a child’s natural and HEALTHY instincts to be weary of strangers seems so wrong. Part of raising my daughter with respect and teaching her to respect others, and learning to respect and trust her own body and boundaries, means not mocking her pain or discomfort, no matter how mild or silly it may seem to me at the time. I don’t want her to think that her feelings and fears are something for adults to laugh at. As the theoretical astrophysicist Katie Mack said recently on a related matter (sexism in science), “It’s not a big deal, but it’s part of a big deal.” I think that quote is really applicable here.

  • Rebecca December 3, 2014, 5:09 pm

    I’m working the Santa booth at our mall this year and of the six hours I’ve worked so far, only one kid has screamed at Santa. We still have like two weeks to go, though…
    And since I’m working the booth, I could get a free set of photos, so I might just have to take a picture with Santa myself!

  • Donna Edwards December 24, 2014, 3:30 pm

    #4, definetly

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