Adams said that most of the kids are very excited to see Santa. "They just run right to him." Many of them are in such a tizzy, they are dumbfounded.
“Once they‘re there, they‘re so nervous they can‘t talk ... I’ve seen them actually forget their names,” said Cunningham. Those that can talk have lots of questions about the reindeer and the elves. Cunningham patiently copes as his beard is pulled, while others have a need to look under his hat.
There are, however, children who are frightened, even as their parents encourage them onto Santa’s lap for that perfect holiday picture.
“Some fight and kick and struggle to get away. There’s a lot of screaming kids,” said Cunningham. “I thought about getting shin guards. I do get kickers.”
While electronic devices like iPads, iPods, laptops and cell phones seem to be at the top of most of the children’s wish lists, Legos and Monster High dolls are in the mix, too, this year.
Then, there are those who come with an entirely different type of request, like the four -year-old girl who asked for a shotgun. Turned out, all of her older brothers had one, so she wanted one, too.
Others have less material objectives. One little boy climbed onto Santa’s lap to ask for his mommy and daddy to get back together. Another asked Santa to bring his late grandpa back.
A six-year-old girl asked Santa to bring her mommy and daddy home.
“I asked where they were. She told me they were in prison,” said Cunningham. To such requests, Cunningham responds with heartfelt sympathy. “I explain I deal in toys, but we’ll go to God and pray for the other.”
Cunningham recalled two young boys, one in a wheelchair, who came to see Santa last year as foster kids.