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Tammy Barley waits to take a photo of 21-month-old daughter Lucy with Santa and Mrs. Claus on Dec. 21, 2013 at Turner Ace Hardware in Jacksonville Beach. (Bob Mack/Times-Union archives)

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Santa poses for a picture with Kinsey Yarbrough, 2, at the annual Shrine Children's Christmas party, at the Shrine Temple on Dec. 12, 2010. (Don Burk/Times-Union archives)

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Jayden Lopez, 4, smiles as he recites his Christmas wish list to Santa Claus as the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and firefighters take children from the Sulzbacher and Gateway Community Centers shopping for Christmas on Dec.15, 2011. (Kelly Jordan/Times-Union archives)

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-Santa asks Corbett Yarbrough, 3 years old what he wanted for Christmas on Dec. 12, 2010. at the annual Shriner Children's Christmas party, at the Shrine Temple on St. John's Bluff road. (Don Burk/Times-Union archives)

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Nine-month-old Liam Jackson decides he would rather not see Santa during the 33rd Annual J. P. Hall Children's Charities Christmas Party on Dec. 20, 2014 at the Clay County Fairgrounds in Green Cove Springs, Florida. (Will Dickey/Times-Union archives)

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Santa tries to coax some conversation out of Zachary Szilagyi, 4, from St. Augustine as his mother Sophie Szilagyi looks on Dec. 7, 2010 at the Dreams Come True Christmas Party at Christ's Church in Mandarin. (Bob Self/Times-Union archives)

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Ray'shaun Wilkins, 13 months, came all dressed up to pose with Santa, but never cracked a smile during his visit at Barnett Children's Building on Nov. 18, 2010. (Bruce Lipsky/Times-Union archives)

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Santa George McManus exchanges a high five with Kenyon Doctor after he gave Kenyon a basketball for Christmas in his 27th annual visit to hand out toys at the Head Start center in Brunswick for the Marine Corps League's charities progam in December 2015. (Terry Dickson/Florida Times-Union)

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Jonathan Lambert looks on spellbound as Santa Claus explains the magic key he uses to get into houses that don't have chimneys on Christmas Eve. It was Santa's 34th visit to the Glynn County Head Start Center arranged by the Marine Corps League's charities program. Each child at the Dec. 16, 2011 event received a toy thanks to funding from Mike Murphy KIA, Walgreen's and Walmart. (Terry Dickson/Times-Union archives)

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Santa gives 4-week-old Dominic Marquez his first St. Nick experience during the 22nd Annual Christmas Made in the South holiday shopping event at the Prime Osborn Convention Center in downtown Jacksonville on Nov. 28, 2010. (Jon M. Fletcher/Times-Union archives)

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Kids gather around Santa at the annual Shop with a Cop event at Walmart on Dec. 19, 2009. (Terry Dickson/Times-Union archives)

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Emma Adams, 3, of Orange Park, smiles for photos as she visits with Santa at the home of Debbie Williams and her husband Raymond Johnson in Green Cove Springs on Dec. 17, 2009. (Kelly Jordan/Times-Union archives)

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Santa Claus works through the rush as he hands out toys Friday, Dec. 19, 2014 at the Head Start center in Brunswick. The toys were provided partly through the annual Marine Corps League golf tournament to benefit Toys for Tots. (Terry Dickson/Times-Union archives)

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Penelope Castaneda, 1, was not very excited to see Santa when her turn came, so Santa played a little trick by going outside, allowing a better chance for a happy photo on Dec. 17, 2011 at St. Johns Town Center. (Bob Mack/Times-Union archives)

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Santa entertains children at the Shrine Children's Christmas party, at the Shrine Temple on St. John's Bluff Road on Dec. 12, 2010. (Don Burk/Times-Union archives)

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William Henry West, Jr., 5, lets his Christmas wishes known to Santa at the entrance to the annual Children's Christmas Party of Jacksonville at the Prime Osborn Convention Center downtown on Dec. 11, 2010. (Jon M. Fletcher/Times-Union archives)

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Gabrielle Henson, 4, talks to Santa Claus at the Children's Christmas Party of Jacksonville on Dec. 12, 2009, in Jacksonville. (Will Dickey/Times-Union archives)

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Santa Claus reads "The Night Before Christmas" at the opening of Festivals of Trees at the Main Branch of the Jacksonville Public Library on Nov. 26, 2011, in Jacksonville. (Bruce Lipsky/Times-Union archives)

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Santa chats with (left to right) Emily Smoot, 11, and Bryce Williams, 9, and his sister, Savannah Williams, 5, during the Dreams Come True Christmas Party on Dec. 7, 2010. (Bob Self/Times-Union archives)

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Lance Park, 9 weeks old, and dog Coco, gave Santa a bit of a hard time before finally posing for the keeper photo (shown here) on Dec. 16, 2012. at St. Johns Town Center. (Bob Mack/Times-Union archives)

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Santa Claus and Reed Veres, from Mandarin Oaks Elementary, look at a toy chosen for him at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge annual Christmas party for special needs children in the Duval County Public Schools on Dec. 9, 2014. (Bruce Lipsky/Times-Union archives)

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Santa is greeted and hugged by kids before toys are handed out at the Fraternal Order of Police Christmas party for special needs children in the Duval County School system on Dec. 2, 2009. (Don Burk/Times-Union archives)

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Santa gets a hug from Ryan Arthur, 3, during the breakfast on Christmas Day 2011 at Sulzbacher Center, where board members and volunteers served breakfast to hundreds of men, women and children. (Bob Mack/Times-Union archives)

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Tytianna Troutman, 4, tells her Christmas wishes to Santa at the J.P. Hall, Sr. Children's Christmas Party at the Clay County Fairgrounds on Dec. 19, 2009. (Jon M. Fletcher/Times-Union archives)

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A young girl talks with Santa in September 1991 at a Brunch with Santa event held in the cafeteria at Loretto Road Elementary School. (Times-Union archive)

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Angie Christmas, 8, shares her Christmas list with Santa in 1992 at Regency Square Mall. (Stand Badz/Times-Union archive)

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Tyler Johnson, 2, is shaken by the sudden appearance of Santa, as his grandmother, Roberta Baity, tries to comfort him during a Christmas party in 1992 at Normandy Village United Methodist Day Care Center. (Times-Union archive)

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Santa gets a big hug from Brooke Webb, 3, during the 1992 homeowners Christmas at Orange Park Country Club. (Times-Union archive)

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Sarah Thompson, 2, and her mom, Julie, visit Santa (Allen Atzert) in 1991 at Orange Park Mall. (Times-Union archive)

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Mitchell Selph, 4, listens intently to Santa in 1991 at Roosevelt Mall. (Times-Union archive)

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Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive by fireboat and are escorted from the docks to the stage by Niki Knopf, left, and Kerry Polanzky, in red, during the City of Jacksonville's official Santa Claus arrival and holiday concert held at Metropolitan Park. (Don Burk/Times-Union archive)

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George Umberger, in his third year of playing Santa, poses for a photo with (from left) Kyle Kohoutek, Casey Greene and Meghan Kohoutek in 1993 at Regency Square Mall. (Times-Union archive)

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Chantel Schaedel, 2, is held by her grandmother Diann Schaedel and tells Santa (George Cook) what she wants for Christmas in 1993 at St. Luke's Hospital on Belfort Road. To the right is Chantel's mother, Ginger Schaedel. (Wes Lester/Times-Union archive)

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Brooke Chancey, 3, gives Santa a hug at a Mommy and Me class in 1993 at Orange Park Mall. (John Pemberton/Times-Union archive)

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Andrea Cone, 3, gives Santa Claus (Neal Taylor), a high-five while Watson Menzel, 6, stands by waiting his turn during a clean-up and decorating day in 1990. The event was held by Secret Cove Garden Circle, in the Secret Cove housing development. (Marcy J. Applebaum/Times-Union archive)

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Maggie Pierson, 4, of Atlantic Beach, reciates her Christmas list to Santa Claus in 1990 at Jack Russell Park in Atlantic Beach. (M. Jack Leudke/Times-Union archive)

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Phillip Shuck, 5, of Jacksonville, talks with Santa in 1990 at Regency Square Mall. (Will Dickey/Times-Union archive)

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Children crowd around Santa waiting for their time with him in 1990 at Metropolitan Park. (Bob Mack/Times-Union archive)

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Santa and Mrs. Claus get hugs from children after they arrived by fireboat in 1992 at Metropolitan Park. (Gary T. Clark/Times-Union archive)

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Santa Claus visits children at school. (Undated, Times-Union archive)

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Patrick Kinsella, 3, tells Santa (George Contois) what is on his Christmas wish list in 1991 at Regency Square Mall. (Bob Mack/Times-Union archive)

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Jeramy Larramore, 3, a victim of congenital heart disease who had just completed a 44-day stay at University Medical Center, got a late visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus (Herman and Louise Ibach) in February 1991. Also pictured is Kelly Wilder, 3. (Dennis Hamilton Jr./Times-Union archive)

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A child shares her wish list with Santa in December 1994 in Woodbine, Georgia. (Terry Dickson/Times-Union archive)

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For more than 20 years, truck driver J.L. Sutton dressed up as Santa and went out to the Panama Park area of Jacksonville to hand out gifts and candy to children. Sutton hugs Christina Smith, 4, on Dec. 23, 1994, as he gives her a bag of goodies and promises to visit her again on Christmas Eve. (Will Dickey/Times-Union archive)

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Holly Dutcher tries to get Cassondra, her 22-month-old daughter, to pose for a picture with Santa during the lighting of the Pilot Club Christmas tree Dec. 10, 1994, at Town Park in Orange Park. (Mark E. Grisham/Times-Union archive)

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Amy Sellers, 6, gets a hug from Santa in 1981 at Hemming Plaza. (Times-Union archive)

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Ashley, 3, and Caitlin, 18 months, sit on Santa's lap in December 1989 at Regency Square Mall. As this photo was taken, Caitlin decided she preferred the comfort of her mother's arms and quickly exited Santa's lap. Ashley stayed to share her wish list with Santa. (Ron Bell/Times-Union archive)

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Santa puckers his lips as he listens to Jimmy Branch, 3, and Kerry Branch, 6, in December 1981 at Pennys in Regency Square Mall. (Times-Union archive)

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Cathy Freeman, 7, smiles as she talks with Santa in December 1981 at Pennys in the Regency Square Mall. (Times-Union archive)

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Dean Fountain, 16, dressed up as Santa and talks with Maria Wakefield, 6, visiting from the Westside. In Christmastime 1988, Gateway Mall had two teenage Santas. The perk of having the younger Santas was softer voices that didn't scare children. (Will Dickey/Times-Union archive)

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Sarah McGowan, 2, of Atlantic Beach, accepts a gift from Santa while he visits her at Wolfson Children's Hospital in December 1985. (Times-Union archive)

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Darrick Fields talks to Santa in December 1980. (Times-Union archive)

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A young boy shares his Christmas list with Santa. (Undated, Times-Union archive)

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Christie Knopf, 6, and her brother Danny, 3, enjoy a special visit with Santa in November 1985. (Times-Union archive)

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A young boy cries during a visit with Santa while his family looks on. (Undated, Times-Union archive)


Magical moments happen when children meet Santa. For some it's pure joy; for others it's pure terror. Here's a look back at nearly 40 years of those wonderful, magical Christmas moments captured by Times-Union photographers. | Buy photos