A dad has revealed he has a crippling phobia of Santa – and claims he’s unable to breathe around “terrifying” festive decorations.
As the festive holiday approaches, many of us are gearing up for a fun-filled Christmas filled with joy and laughter – but for one man, it’s an anxiety-inducing ordeal which leaves him feeling Claus-trophobic.
Garry Hollidge, 47, from Whitstable, Kent, has suffered from a phobia of the man dressed in red ever since his childhood and the fear has wreaked havoc on his life.
Upon seeing Mr Claus, he claims to struggle to breathe and breaks out in a cold sweat, where his anxiety “skyrockets” as the winter months approach.
However, it’s not the “real life” Santa which gives him a run for his money, but the moving ornaments which shock him to his very core.
“It’s the little weird dancing figures that freak me out, as they are really creepy and it’s the way they move that’s horrible – I can’t bear it,” Garry told NeedToKnow.online.
“As soon as the little Santa starts jiggling, I start to break out in a cold sweat and it’s terrible, as it runs down my back, around my neck and my palms go really clammy.”
Garry recalls being around age seven upon discovering his “bizarre” fear, where he claims the “unexpected” movement took him by surprise.
In a bid to help conquer his nightmare, his parents bought one to decorate their home at Christmas – but this only made things worse.
He said: “I think they thought it was funny and it would help me get over my fear, but it just made matters ten times worse as the years went on.
“I remember going shopping with my mum as Christmas approached and this was a no-go.
“If I had to go with her, I’d sit and wait in the car for her to return.
“It was a tricky time at school, as my friends constantly asked me to go over to their house and their mums would invite me to dinner.
“I’d had to find out if they had a dancing Santa and if they did, I would make up any excuse and arrange to see them outside instead.
“I kept my secret safe, so kids at school never knew and luckily, I wasn’t bullied.”
Now, as he knows shelves will be stocking up with the jolly figurines, he’s aiming to keep himself and his family safe this season – with a full ban.
Garry added: “I think my family understand that big Santa is welcome, but there is a ban on the little dancing ones and there always will be.
“I don’t have a problem with anyone who wears red or has a big white beard, it’s just the way they move – I can’t bear it.
“It’s not enjoyable as they can appear anywhere and at any time, it’s such a nightmare.”