holiday nights of lights

Parents upset after Santa takes bathroom break during holiday lights festival

An Ontario family is frustrated and disappointed after saving up to attend the Holiday Nights of Lights festival in Vaughan, only to miss seeing Santa Claus because he was taking a bathroom break. 

Michele L., a mother of seven-year-old twins, told blogTO her children were beyond excited to see Santa at the lights festival on Saturday, Dec. 12.

"As you can imagine the highlight of this light show, for any child, would be Santa at the end," said Michele, adding that she and her family borrowed a car specifically for this occasion and saved up to pay for tickets.

But after driving through the light show and reaching what looked like the end without seeing Santa, Michele said she asked a security guard if that was it, and they confirmed that they had in fact completed the entire drive-through experience. 

Faced with two crying and disappointed children, Michele emailed the event to ask what happened, and she said the response she received "was very hurtful."

According to a screenshot of the email exchange provided to blogTO, Michele wrote to the event organizers asking why Santa had been nowhere in sight during their experience when every other family they spoke to got to see him. 

She said the light festival was beautiful, but her children were extremely disappointed and tearful about missing Santa.

"I know your policy is no refunds but honestly this was so disappointing to us," she wrote. "Sadly we are not able to return as we had to borrow a vehicle."

In response to her message, a spokesperson for Holiday Nights of Lights firmly reiterated that they do not provide refunds.

"I am sorry to hear but he does have to use the restroom sometimes being in the rain/cold for 5+ hours. So we apologize for that," said the spokesperson. "We will definitely look into getting an inflatable Santa or elf to replace him during his potty breaks."

Michele told blogTO she was surprised by the lack of compassion in the email she received, and while she of course understands that Santa has to use the bathroom every now and then just like the rest of us, she feels they could have handled the situation better. 

"I think they should have perhaps let us drive around one more time/loop in order to catch Santa. Or offer more tickets? I feel their response had no compassion to the fact that Santa really is a big deal to children. Especially this year,"  she said. 

"Of course I understand that Santa needs a break (you can't deprive them from that). But can they not have two Santas to split the time? I don't think inflatable would cut it. My opinion," she added.

"We are still hurt by this. As much as the light show was beautiful, kids truly care about Santa."

When asked about the incident by blogTO, a spokesperson for Nights of Lights sent the following statement: "The response to our light show has been incredibly positive, and we're proud of the experience that we've provided our guests. We're focused on ensuring everyone, including our staff, have a safe and festive experience, and are happy to work with guests to accommodate any issues. "

Lead photo by

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