24 December 2019 08:32

Walmart Santa Claus Christmas jumper

Santa Claus is running through town, towns across the world

Grandma may have got run over by a reindeer, but if you're reading this now we can be sure you didn't get trampled yourself by one of the thousands of Santas running through each of these major cities over the holiday month of December.Every year around Christmas time, groups of Santas come together and dash across cities such as Tokyo, Venice, Budapest Mexico City, Moscow Paris, London, Athens, Skopje in North Macedonia - the list could go on and on - to run together and spread the holiday cheer.Many of these "Santa Runs" are put on for charity, some are organized by running enthusiasts and some dubbed Santa runs are even just bar crawls in Philadelphia that never materialize. With all participants dubbed in the traditional red and white gear of jolly Saint Nick.Besides the failed pub crawl, thousands of Santas team up annually to participate in these marathon type runs throughout these major cities to not only run for a good cause, but to also bring joy to the world as well as themselves.While no snow was on the ground throughout many of these places, no one was stuck dreaming of a white Christmas in these places as the holiday cheer was in full display.In Tokyo, it is known as the annual 'Great Santa Run.' This year the theme was Run and Fun Walk, where nearly 5,000 Santas could choose one of two paths, a running course (4.3km) or a walking course (2km). The Santa Run this year was organized to raise money for a children's charity - festivities include live performances, booth activities and of course lots of food.Moving over to Eastern Europe, in North Macedonia hundreds of Santas ran through the snowy streets of Skopje. The race is aimed to create a festive atmosphere and send message of love and happiness to the city of Skopje.In Central America, Mexico City held their Santa run this year to increase sports participation through Mexico - while making the run fun at the same time. In Monterrey, there is a similar version of this marathon called 'Run Santa Run.'And finally another notable in Moscow, about 500 Santas and his Russian cousin Father Frost ran in the charity race titled the 'Happy Run' to support sick children in need and help these families buy Christmas presents.

For those who wanted to contribute but didn't feel like running, organizer of the event created the "lazy" tier category, where you can donate 300 rubles to watch from the sidelines - despite the probable ego hit, these "lazy" people know they were donating to a good cause.While we wouldn't picture Santa Claus normally running, in fact we might imagine quite the opposite. But in case you were unaware for this year, just remember next year that Santa Claus will be travelling across the world and coming to a town near you, and he's bringing his friends and maybe a Russian cousin to help race to spread the holiday cheer. But Ed Taylor, who runs a school called the Santa Claus Conservatory, said Santa Claus is about "the embodiment of that Christmas spirit." Taylor said his school has about 3,000 members worldwide, but the number of black Santas and Latino Santas is "very few" relative to the requests he gets. Long Island, New York-based Tim Connaghan, who also runs a school that trains Santas and Mrs. Clauses, said that of the 4,200 who have attended, less than a dozen have been black Santas. Others have formed their own businesses, like Stafford Braxton, the CEO of Santas Just Like Me. The company sends its Santas to cultural and arts centers, corporate parties and charity events at various cities throughout North Carolina.

Back in 2011, when Braxton had worked at a major mall in Raleigh, North Carolina, he had guests coming up to him and asking if they were ever going to have a black Santa. He said business is getting even busier — his Santas will probably do more than 40 events by the end of the holiday season, compared to 12 last year. Landon Luther — co-owner of The Santa Experience, the studio at Mall of America that offers in-person appointments with Santas like Larry Jefferson — said he sadly hasn't observed a significant increase in black Santas at other malls since they hired him in 2016. She said: "No. All my life I wanted to see a black Santa Claus, and here you are." Warren Keyes, a black Santa who works with Braxton, said there were no Santas who looked like him in the town he grew up in. Inside the district's Japanese Village, Shogun Santa awaits visitors, but this time he's traded Saint Nick's black boots for getas (a type of traditional Japanese footwear) and his fur-trimmed red hat for samurai headgear.

Ellen Endo, co-chair of the Little Tokyo Business Improvement District, stands alongside Shogun Santa. "We understand that it's important for children today to have an image that reflects their own background," said Ellen Endo, co-chair of the Little Tokyo Business Improvement District. Even in Japan, Endo and Okamoto said Santa is generally portrayed as white. Rich Centeno, a children's entertainer who has portrayed Santa for the past six years, said sometimes parents will stop by with their kids and tell them — in Spanish — what they should request from Santa. Rich Centeno has been performing as Santa for about six years now. "When I can speak their language, it adds a little bit for the children both in Spanish and in sign language," Centeno said.