Saturday, December 17, 2011

The evolving face of SANTA

I may be having a break from all the Christmas craziness this year to self-indulge in The Big Caravan Adventure but that doesn’t mean I can’t still torture the children with the annual Santa photo.

And whilst I draw the line at placing animal parts on my children's heads for Christmas cards, I do like indulging in a good Santa photo. It becomes the source of great embarrassment and laughs down the track.

I found some old Santa photos a way back and downloaded them onto my iPhoto. What I've noticed is that Santa has come a long way since I first had the pleasure of sitting on his knee in the 1970’s. And I thought I’d take a trip down memory lane (and embarrass myself in the process) by showing you are few shots.

1.     The Santa of the 70’s was generally someone’s uncle or dad roped into doing the gig by their wife who worked in the lingerie department of David Jones. He sat on a cane chair. No white gloves. There was only 1 shot at capturing the memorable moment. Santa was often there under duress and not very costume saavy. Here you have the Santa who ate his moustache instead of wearing it. No wonder I look a bit frightened!

2.     A couple of years later, still no white gloves but the cane chair has been given a makeover with some tinsel. His eyebrows are a dead giveaway that he’s not the real deal and he still hasn’t mastered the art of looking calm and ignoring the screaming baby on his knee. Clearly the Santa of the 70's had no idea that he would be gracing the mantlepiece of these children's homes in the future.

3.     Fast forward 30 years and there have been many changes. Here we have the BEST Santa I have ever come across. A real beard and the jolliest smile I have ever seen. He is quite famous and he has been in this gig for a VERY long time. He has white gloves and a throne to sit on. Screaming children, tantrums and psycho mothers who need to sit with the children do not faze this new Santa. I have actually sat with this Santa 6 years in a row as there was always one of the children who was a bit suspicious of the white beard. I’m always happy to humiliate myself for the greater good and I'm very much looking forward to seeing this Santa again next year.

4.      Finally, here we are this year in Alice Springs where they do things a little bit differently. I like it. There are no nauseating lines. You bring your own camera for a photo. It is FREE!!! I know, after maxing out the credit card at David Jones in Sydney last year for the Santa photo it is almost worth flying here for the freebie. Santa comes out of his sleigh to welcome the children, gives them gifts and then poses for a photo wherever you want him to. There’s no “come up here and sit on the lap of a strange and scary red man with white beard kids!”. All in all a calm experience and for the very first time I didn’t have to sit on Santa’s knee. 

The Kangaroos pulling the sleigh were a bit odd though.

So tell me, have you all done Santa photos this year? Was it a happy or tearful experience and did anyone still sit on Santa’s knee and embarrass themselves like myself? And can anyone tell my 5 year old if the squirrels pull the sleigh in North America?

Hope everyone is enjoying the festive season!


  1. A FREE Santa photo??? I think we need to head to Alice Springs next christmas! That, the Kangaroos are a little odd though..

    Love your trip down memory lane with your santa photos. I'll have to see if I can find some of mine.

  2. What a terrific wander down memory lane that was! We have photos of similar look and feel - including Alice Springs specials from the late 1970s when I grew up there. All I can think these days is how bloody HOT Santa must be. I remember one year Santa was wearing shorts... tragic, but hysterical.

    Happy Christmas to you!! x

  3. I must dig out our Alice Springs Santa snaps! (December 2004...Olivia was not even a year old!)

  4. I'm horrified by the terrified toddlers in the first two. Poor babies! The next two are much nicer. I love that you're in the photo with your son there.

  5. Loved it Mel. Bron (Maxabella) has all of the family Christmas snaps up every year. My kids still refuse to hang with Santa. My Mil tries every year but no cigar. Enjoy your travels and a big HAPPY CHRISTMAS x

  6. Ha ha! We lived in Madagascar for a couple of years, and in the local supermarket one of the guards would dress up in a Santa outfit and roam around the store, ringing a bell. He was the most horrific looking Santa I have ever seen. He was very thin and short, and wore a costume about 3 sizes too big. He also wore a rubber face mask that was white (contrasting with his beautiful brown hands), and had red rosy cheeks painted onto to exceptionally high rubber cheekbones. The eye holes were vacant, so it looked like he had had his eyes poked out. He looked like something out of a horror movie. My son who was 2 and 3 years developed a fear of Santa and would scream whenever he saw him. We are now back in Australia, and after attempting many introductions with an "Aussie" Santa, only overcame his fears last year, on the spur of the moment, and we got our first Santa photo at age 4.