Girl, 6, horrified by ‘Bad Santa’ who smoked and slurred his words

Six-year-old Layla’s first time meeting Santa Claus was not quite what she and mum Charli expected (Picture: Charli Lewis / SWNS)

A mum has slammed a ‘Bad Santa’ who allegedly smoked in public and slurred his words – prompting her six-year-old to ask some awkward questions.  

Charli Lewis, 26, felt she ‘let down’ daughter Layla after the disappointing festive experience in Greater Manchester – the schoolgirl’s first time meeting the big guy.

Charli says she spotted the Father Christmas impersonator pulling down his beard to smoke a cigarette in the car park at Radcliffe Boys and Girls club.  

She claims he was ‘swaying’ when organisers told him to return to his grotto – but he apparently didn’t know where it was located.  

When Layla finally got her chance to sit on Santa’s knee, Charli says they found him ‘slumped on the couch’ with his belly on display.   

He made no effort to be festive and was rude, Charli claims.  

But Laura De-Foe, who organised the event, insisted the Santa was a ‘great and gentle man’.  

‘He would never knowingly make a child uncomfortable, and several other children left feeling very happy and told us we had done a good job and that they would come again,’ she told Bury Times.  

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web
browser that
supports HTML5

Charli said the Father Christmas put ‘no effort in his voice’ and did ‘nothing to resemble Santa at all’ when she and Layla visited the grotto on November 27.  

‘I felt I had let her down as a mother,’ she revealed.   

Describing the moment they arrived in the car park, Charli said: ‘He was smoking a cigarette in full view with his beard around his neck.  

‘I tried to stall Layla in the car…so she didn’t see. 

‘But she did say, “Oh look, there’s Santa”.  

‘I don’t know whether she saw the cigarette in his mouth. 

‘We followed him in after a little bit, and we were just behind him, and the event’s organiser had said, “Go back to your grotto”.’

‘He replied he’d forgotten where it was.’ 

Charli said Layla had ‘a lot of questions’ when they returned to their car.  

‘She said that she knew that wasn’t the real Santa, stuff like that. 

‘I’ve tried to get Layla to see Santa in the past before, but she’s a bit of an anxious child. 

‘She’s always ended up backing out last minute, so this was the first time that I’ve actually manged to take her, and that is the first experience she’s got now. 

‘Children don’t get long to believe in Santa, which is why it’s so important for them to have a good experience, but this Santa didn’t act like Santa at all.’

Layla asked mum Charli some awkward questions after meeting Santa (File pic: Getty Images)

Luckily Layla now has a second chance to meet Father Christmas thanks to Radcliffe Litter Pickers, an organisation the school girl volunteers for in her free time.  

Fellow volunteers clubbed together to pay for the six-year-old to visit Santa at a local Christmas market.  

A spokesperson said: ‘A good Santa keeps the magic of Christmas alive which is so important for the early years of a child. 

‘They need to have a good first experience, so we want to help clear Layla’s bad memory.’  

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at

For more stories like this, check our news page.


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.