Christmas is a time when gift-giving is encouraged. One of the most influential gift-givers during Christmas time is Santa Claus, who people say give toys to little children during the night. However, some people have a fear of the jolly old man, a fear known as Santaphobia.
Santaphobia is a fear that is usually developed at an early age. Adults can suffer from the fear of Santa Claus, though the fear was most likely influenced during the person’s youth. A child with Santaphobia is often terrified at the thought of a man who can come into their house at will. They may also fear the thought of Santa Claus knowing their every deed, whether it be good or bad. Some children wonder what is behind the costume and jolly outward appearance and fear the answer. Other children may have had a bad experience with a person pretending to be Santa Claus. These impersonations of Santa Claus are often found in malls and shopping centers, and though they are trained to deal with younger kids, one negative event with “Santa Claus” can lead to a lifelong fear.
Common symptoms of Santaphobia include:
- Panic Attacks/Extreme Anxiety
- Elevated Heart Rate
- Refusal or Reluctant to talk about Christmas and/or Santa Claus
- Refusal to use Santa-themed items
Many people with Santaphobia realize that their fear is irrational, but cannot overcome it by themselves. Most use avoidance to cope with their fear. The fear of Santa Claus is usually formed in one’s youth, so it is best to overcome it then. Children should express their fears to understanding parents, who should try to help if told about the problem. Exposure to Santa Claus impersonations can be a beneficial step to overcoming the fear. If the fear is too intense, therapy should be considered.