Last Saturday night, Times Square was literally a Santa free for all. I first noticed the Santa madness as I approached from the direction of the Empire State Building while walking along Broadway. Along the way, a group of five Santas passed me. Then another group of Santas strolled by. Then there was a lone Santa and a Santa with Mrs. Claus. There were also elves.
By the time I reached 42nd Street, I wondered if this was some Improv Everywhere stunt. Nope. This was the annual Santa pub crawl where people dress like Santa Claus--some better than others, and wander the streets stopping to pop into a bar now and then or indulge a tourist with a photo op.
These hundreds of jolly Santas provided a surprising night of entertainment and an unusual taste of holiday cheer. There's nothing quite like seeing Santa Claus taking pictures of tourists who are flanked by other Santas. The guy with the fake ear locks dressed up like a Jewish Santa was my favorite version.
Here are 15 more shots of Santa's around the world--some in surprising places. Each was taken by a traveler who happened by. From Gadling to you, here's another version of a Santa crawl. Ho! ho! ho! and enjoy.
Just like when there are hundreds of Santa's, when there's only one, magic can happen. This Santa's kiss is being delivered at a Christmas party for kids in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Evidently, Santa has more to do than listen to kid's Christmas wishes, make presents and deliver them. This Santa, also in South Africa, is feeding the fish at UShaka Marine World in Durban.
The first time I saw Santa en mass was Christmas Eve in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Take this fellow and multiply him over several times. If I had been thinking, I'd have bought a Santa suit for a song for myself.
These Santas gathered en mass at the Tate Modern
. Even Santa needs a culture fix.
They make Santa kinda young in Bethlehem, Israel. He has pint-sized Santa pals in Vietnam. Santa suits are plentiful in kids sizes there as well.
In Buenos Aires, Argentina
this Santa was witness to a travel related scavenger hunt put on by Midnight Soret
, that aims to give people an unique way to see the country. The woman with the paper is a contestant who was able to snap, along with her group of fellow travelers, 66 of the 100 required
This Santa and sidekick Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) are scaling a building in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Zwarte Piet is a version of Santa's elves. According to the photo's description, Zwarte Pete arrives in The Netherlands via steamboat from Spain with the aim to deliver presents to children. This building stunt looks like a swell task option for the Amazing Race.
This Santa Claus in Turkey talked turkey with the photographer about how he is concerned about children who suffer in the world and his job is to make them smile.
These Santas are high fiving in Tokyo, Japan.
Santa in Seattle, Washington at the Northgate Mall does not look like a happy fellow even though he wears the suit like it was made for him. Too many naughty kids? Not enough time off between Christmas Eves?
Sometimes Santa's tasks wander into hawking Santa goods. This fellow is wandering the streets in Azerbaijan. This mostly Muslim country does have Russian traditions in some parts like celebrating the Russian Christmas on December 6.
This Santa is in Russia where he travels with a bear. I wonder if the station wagon in the background is his ride?
This Santa's "Ho, ho, ho's" are being delivered at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia. The only thing that looks like the visit with Santa at the light up at the zoo in Columbus, Ohio where my son visits Santa is the guy in the red suit and the tinsel garland.
Even Santa has to do the laundry. These duds are line drying in Copenhagen, Denmark. I wonder which bicycle is Santa's? Maybe the one with the attached carrying case? Santa needs a place for those presents, you know.
Also taken in Denmark, this photo has that warm, cozy feeling of peace. Something one hopes every Santa around the world is bringing along with him--or her--whichever the case may be.
Filed under: Arts and Culture, Festivals and Events, Photos, Stories, South Africa, Azerbaijan, Israel, Japan, Russian Federation, Turkey, Vietnam, Denmark, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Australia, Argentina