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PHOTOS & MAP: Where to find Santa in Southern California; St. Nicks share kids' most memorable requests

"I asked a young boy of about six what he wanted for Christmas, and his dad goes, 'Wait till you hear about this.' And he looks at me, and he says, 'A leaf blower.' He loves his dad's leaf blower, so I got a kick out of that…I asked a young girl of about five what she wanted for Christmas, and she was pretty comfortable sitting on my lap. She looked up at me, and she said, 'I want you.' So I thought that was the best one I've ever received." —Santa at Disneyland
Ashley Alvarado/KPCC
"There are a variety of requests that children will make each year. Some of the more notable ones have been handcuffs (child of a police officer) or vegetable seeds for a garden. The ones that always stand out the most are when a child says that he wants his family to be happy. I always tell them that as long as they wake up every day with a positive outlook on the day and a willingness to be happy and make it a good day, that it will make everyone around them happy." —Santa at The Americana at Brand
"A 9-year-old girl asked me if I could bring books to her school as her school did not have the money for books for its library." Santa at The Grove.
"To have a nice Christmas with family (no gifts requested). This is the second year I've had this request, and I am always touched and let the child know that is the true meaning of Christmas." —Arcata Santa
"It's most memorable when I have a child ask me to heal or make brother or sister well. Or, 'Can you bring Daddy back from oversees?'" —Paseo Colorado Santa
"[The mother of] a little girl who was blind asked if she could touch my face to know what I looked like. As she felt my beard and face, all of were getting teary-eyed. Then she pinched my nose and we all laughed." —Westfield Plaza Camino Real Santa
"I had a child who wanted to learn to surf because his brother had died [and he] was an avid surfer and had left him all his surfboards. His story brought me to tears. Of course, I taught him to surf!" —Surfing Santa
"A young boy who asked Santa to bring his dad home from war." —Universal CityWalk's Rockin' Santa
"It's mostly cats and dogs who come to see me. But this year I have a request: I want to get as many dogs out of shelters and into homes as possible." —PetSmart Santa
Ashley Alvarado/KPCC
"A pair of brothers came in. And the [older] boy says, 'I'm 7 years old,' he says in front of his little brother, 'and I want you to bring me two things: a computer and a girlfriend.'" —Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza Santa
Ashley Alvarado/KPCC
"Once in a wealthy neighborhood, many children were asking for electronics and other toys—one child asked [me] to bring his present to his friend William’s house because his home had recently burned down." —Citadel Outlets Santa
"One year a small child came to me and all she asked for Christmas that year was for her mother to be happy. I asked her if she wanted anything for herself, and she said, 'No, all I want is for my mom to be happy.'" —Knott's Berry Farm Santa
Knott's Berry Farm
"Some years back, a child with Down syndrome asked me if her Christmas presents were at her house. She and her parents were just returning from her grandparents' home. It was Christmas Day, and I was in suit awaiting my own wife's flight at Lindburgh Field. With 80-plus children dragging their folks over to hug or greet Santa, I still remember this child, my seeing her father shaking his head affirmatively, and my saying 'Yes, sweetheart. They are there. You see, I always will know where you are.'" —Oceanside Santa
"A young lady came in, wishing that we would have world peace…she must have been about 10 years old…So I said, 'It'll happen.'" —Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza Santa
Ashley Alvarado/KPCC


Caution: This post contains Santa spoiler alerts.

Kris Kringle is a busy man. In the days leading up to Christmas, he's making appearances across Southland shopping centers, theme parks and pet stores. Along the way, he's meeting thousands of children and noting each and every one of their sweet, heartbreaking and hilarious requests.

Click through our slideshow of professional Southern California Santa stand-ins to see how they responded to the question: "What's the most memorable request you've received from a child?"

Trying to find Santa?

Deciding when and where you will get your annual photo with the big guy can be intimidating, so we reached out to Santa's PR people to find out what is available at each location.

Check out the map below to learn more about the Santa photo ops near you.

Did we miss your favorite Santa location? Email Ashley Alvarado at aalvarado@kpcc.org and let us know what we should add. (And, Santa, if you're reading this, please tell us more about you by clicking here.)