We've featured some bad Santas in the past. This year, check out ten kind and sympathetic bearded men who stole the Christmas show and earned a spot on our list.
1The Irish Santa who melted the Internet after using sign language with a hearing-impaired 6-year-old
Christmas is a time for giving and creating beautiful memories with those we love. For little children, a big part of it is all about Santa. One Santa made a little girl's wishes come true when he connected with her in a very special way and the moment was recorded and uploaded to YouTube by user Mashup Mark.
The clip begins with a child sitting on Santa's lap in the middle of a shopping center. Her mum can be overheard saying, "Sorry, she can't talk very well." Instead of smiling and moving on to the next child, this particularly special Santa replied, "Can she sign at all?"
What happens next is a Christmas miracle. Santa engages in conversation with the girl in sign language, and they talk for several seconds.
2The fashionable Santa "for adults" who is donating his time to charity
He's not your average mall Santa. For starters, he's missing some padding around the middle, and his beard is groomed. He doesn't wear cheap and fuzzy red suits but opts instead for burgundy velvet blazers. Despite those differences, Paul Mason is still putting smiles on the faces of shoppers at Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre.
Mason has been a fashion model for 30 years, and his look inspired his collaboration with Yorkdale to create "Fashion Santa." Just to be clear—the mall still has a traditional Santa for children to visit, they just have a second one "for adults." Mason is not just cool; he's a Santa for a good cause. For every selfie posted to social media using the hashtag #YorkdaleFashionSanta, the mall will donate $1 to the Sick Kids Foundation.
3The Santa who comforted a little boy worried his autism had put him on the "naughty list"
A magical moment was caught on camera when Santa Claus comforted a child with autism who was worried his disability would put him on the "naughty list."
The Santa at the RiverTown Crossings mall put his arm around 6-year-old Landon Johnson as the child leaned against him. "It's OK to be yourself," he said.
Mother Naomi said Landon went back to Santa after seeing him with his cousins and told him "sometimes he gets in trouble at school, and it's hard for people to understand that he has autism and that he's not a naughty boy." Santa reassured the boy saying he has been "a very good boy by (just) being who he is."
After posting the photo to Facebook, Johnson received an outpouring of love and support—it has nearly 100,000 likes and more than 30,000 shares.
4The man who was mistaken for Santa by a little boy and went along with it
A little boy approached a bearded man at a Tim Hortons in Ontario, Canada and was convinced he was meeting Santa Claus in person. Instead of sending the boy away, the kind man decided to play along.
“The older gent looked down, smiled and asked him if he sent his letter in yet,” Mark Hurson wrote in a Facebook post that went viral. “The boy said no and that he would be doing it that night.” After that brief exchange, “Santa” gave the boy some valuable advice. “He said, 'you better be nice to your mom and sister because I'm watching.' He then said goodbye, and that he was going back to the North Pole to finish the toys with the elves."
“Everyone in the restaurant was a bit teary eyed! (Including me!)" Hurson wrote. "There are some great people left in the world.”
5The hipster Santa from an Oregon Mall
When most people think of Santa Claus, they recall an image of a jovial old man dressed in a red and white suit. Well, you can scrub that image from your head, because Pioneer Place Mall in Portland, Oregon, has a "hipster" Santa. This Kris Kringle comes complete with a man bun, thick-rimmed glasses, a beard, and a sweater that resembles the one The Dude wore. He also uses a bike to get around and probably prefers that you leave him artisan, gluten-free, non-GMO cookies, along with locally sourced organic milk on Christmas Eve. If you want to see him, hipster Santa is available for pictures on Tuesdays.
6The Santa who took a nap with a 6-month-old baby
Santa Claus is a popular guy, so sometimes people have to wait in line for a while to see him.
When 6-month-old Zeke fell asleep while he was waiting to see Santa at an Indiana mall, the big guy in red decided not to wake him up. That made for an adorable Christmas photo. The boy's father, Donnie Walters, posted the photo on his Donnie's Daycare Facebook page with the caption: "I can't believe how adorable our son's pictures with Santa came out. After falling asleep in line waiting, Santa asked us not to wake him, and the outcome was the cutest thing I've ever seen."
Santa told Walters and his wife not to wake the boy up. He propped Zeke up on his chest and pretended to nap with him. Walters' Facebook post has been viewed several million times, with more than 200,000 shares.
7The sympathetic Santa who went the extra mile for a boy with autism
A photo showing Santa Claus going above and beyond for a boy with autism is going viral. The organization Autism Speaks first shared the photo of old Saint Nick with a boy named Brayden. He was diagnosed with autism at age 3. His mother, Erin Deely, was afraid there would be some experiences that her son wouldn't get to enjoy.
But this Santa is special—he's part of a program called Caring Santa which provides special needs families with a unique opportunity to visit with and take photos with the beloved character. The photo was taken at SouthPark Mall in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“The whole staff (Santa included) was overly accommodating for all of our kids, really trying to get the best picture and create the best experience possible, regardless of how much time or patience was needed to do so,” said Maeghan Pawley, the Autism Speaks community outreach manager in the Southeast region.
8The Secret Santa who gave away $100,000 worth of hundred dollar bills to random strangers with the help of the cops
Every year an anonymous, wealthy businessman gives out about $100,000 worth of hundred dollar bills to random strangers. But in 2014, instead of doing it all himself, he had deputies give away much of it. "Let's start with a thousand," the Secret Santa said as he gave the deputies the money.
And so, armed to the teeth with Benjamins, the officers went out to do Santa's bidding. They specifically went after people they thought would appreciate it most.
As always, creating magical Christmas moments is the main mission here. But, this year, the Secret Santa also had a secret agenda. "What do you want the officers to get out of this?" someone asked him. "Joy," he answered. "You know, as tough as they are, they have hearts that are bigger than the world." Let's face it, the past couple of years hasn't been great for law enforcement, but for the vast majority of decent officers who will never make headlines, this Secret Santa offered quite a gift.