This horrifying holiday tale was first posted to the infamous Reddit community NoSleep — home of the world’s most chilling creepypastas — by user manen_lyset, who recounted the arrival of an unexpected nocturnal Christmas visitor.
The previous year, at a post-Christmas clearance sale, the author found an interesting gadget: a tree ornament containing a miniature hidden camera, which could store low-res video on a micro SD card. He decided to stash it away until the following holiday season, when he told his two young daughters he was going to use the camera to secretly record Santa Claus in the wee hours of Christmas Eve. To carry out his plan, he dug an old Santa costume out of storage, which he would don during the night to place gifts under the tree in plain view of the camera lens.
When Christmas Eve arrived, the kids were giggling with anticipation over finally getting a secret glimpse of Santa doing his thing, and it took longer than usual for them to fall asleep. But when their father was confident they had nodded off, he slipped into the costume, put on his hat and beard, and tiptoed into the living room, where he made an elaborate show of stashing gifts, scarfing up the milk and cookies the kids had put out for Santa, and lumbering off-camera in the direction of the fireplace.
At sunrise on Christmas morning, the kids were actually more excited to view the camera footage than they were to open their gifts, so the family gathered around Dad’s laptop as he inserted the SD card. His Santa routine came off perfectly, and the kids squealed with excitement at their first “real” look at Santa. Their father was so overjoyed to see their reaction, he forgot to stop the video playback while the family opened their presents.
That’s when he noticed the box. Wrapped in bright blue paper, this additional package had not been under the tree the night before. It had the man’s name on it, but his wife denied putting it there.
“That must be from Mr. Elf!” his youngest daughter said confidently — pointing to the laptop, where the video player was still open.
He watched the footage again, but this time started playing at a point before his Santa act. That’s when he noticed a shadowy human shape in the background. The shape slowly, stealthily begin to move, then retreated into a corner just before Dad entered the living room to do his routine. The figure was clearly watching him the entire time.
After “Santa” left the scene, the figure remained absolutely still. Fast-forwarding the footage revealed that the shape stood there, unmoving, for more than an hour. Finally, it began to walk directly toward the hidden camera, revealing itself to be a tall man in an elf costume. It reached out toward the ornament containing the camera… and the video ended.
Trying to conceal his panic from the children, the father unwrapped and opened the blue box. There, wrapped in plastic, was the battery he’d installed in the ornament the night before. His wife took down the ornament and opened the back cover…
The battery compartment was empty.