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Dear Santa, please bring my daddy back. And a pizza.

When your little boy sits on Santa’s lap, is he requesting a Nerf Vortex – or a new baby brother? Is your daughter wishing for Monster High dolls – or $1 million? We asked TODAY Moms readers to tell us about the unusual things your kids have requested from St. Nick, and you had lots of funny, sweet and sad anecdotes to share.  Food-related requests were surprisingly common: “My son asked
You want a what, now? Sometimes kids' wish lists throw even Santa for a loop.
You want a what, now? Sometimes kids' wish lists throw even Santa for a loop.AP / Today

When your little boy sits on Santa’s lap, is he requesting a Nerf Vortex – or a new baby brother? Is your daughter wishing for Monster High dolls – or $1 million? We asked TODAY Moms readers to tell us about the unusual things your kids have requested from St. Nick, and you had lots of funny, sweet and sad anecdotes to share.  

You want a what, now? Sometimes kids' wish lists throw even Santa for a loop.AP / Today

Food-related requests were surprisingly common: “My son asked Santa for a churro maker so he can have Disneyland churros at home,” said Nicole Macko-Margetts. Kristen Wurm Roeder wrote that her son asked for hot dogs last year, and this year, a refrigerator for his room. JoJo Taylor-Lewis’s preschooler requested pizza (Santa obliged, delivering a cheese pie under the tree).

And though it might seem like your kids just want stuff for themselves, they’re thinking of you, too. Stacy Hopper wrote that her 6-year-old wants Santa to bring makeup for mommy (thanks, kid), and Cari Lawrence VanOsdol said that her 3-year-old son asked Santa to bring his mom a husband so she wouldn’t cry anymore. “It made me cry at the time, but the following summer, I met my future husband,” said VanOsdol.  Way to go, Santa!

Angela Pringle reported that her two sons asked for a baby sister, two years in a row, and Justine Bowman wrote that her 8-year-old asked Santa to make angels come back to life, “so she can see her daddy and her grampa again.” Cortney Dotson’s son asked why Santa didn’t come to his orphanage in China for the four years that he lived there. “Poor Santa had to take a break after that,” she said.

No matter what a child asks for – be it an American Girl doll, an iPad or a new job for mommy – the first rule of Santa-hood is to never promise anything, said Tim Connaghan, a 43-year veteran of the red suit. “Santa has to listen to the wishes, give an optimistic answer and leave everything in the hands of the parents,” said the man known in the biz as “Santa Hollywood.”  “Whatever the situation is, they need a good feeling, an optimistic feeling.”

That’s especially true if a child is asking for something tough, like for his divorced parents to reconcile, or for her beloved grandmother to come back from the grave. “The first thing to do is acknowledge what the child says,” said Connaghan. “The child needs to know that you hear them.”

Santa can also empathize, and offer reassurance that the child is loved. “And then, Santa has to kind of change the subject,” said Connaghan, who has schooled over 2,000 aspiring St. Nicks through his International University of Santa Claus. Skilled Santas know to move the conversation gently to what else the child may want for Christmas -- and get an answer they can feel good about.

Still, it is possible for your kids to throw Santa for a loop – even Santa Hollywood. Connaghan relayed a story of a young girl who not only wanted her own elf, but Santa’s robe and belt, too. “When her mother came up afterward, I told her about what her daughter had asked for. She looked at me and said, ‘Santa, we’re Jewish!’”

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