Santa’s out of quarantine

Where are you this time on his ‘naughty or nice’ list?

MONTEREY, MEXICO Julio Cesar Aguilar

Lockdown’s over, even for Santa Claus.

And he’s out looking for those on his “nice” list. Are you one of them? But life’s been tough and, as Morrisey in one of The Smiths’ songs “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want” once crooned, “See, the luck I’ve had can make a good man turn bad…” so maybe Santa Claus this year will be a little more forgiving. After all, he’s happy enough to have flown the coop now that international borders have opened up, and he need not be locked down, frozen, in the cold of the North Pole anymore.


But like I said, life’s been tough. And Santa’s been busy, trying to make things better.

He’s been spotted in the state of Nuevo Leon in Mexico patroling Monterey on a motorcycle disguised as transit police. Also in Mexico, in Zapopan, about 154 hours away from Nuevo Leon on foot, someone spied him on the run, participating in the annual “Run Santa Run” Christmas race.

In Baghad, he was seen selling hats along the streets or was he distributing hats full of dreams?


On the Paseo de la Sexta in Guatamela City, he played the saxophone. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” the music of his instrument prompted us, so we sang along, “Let your heart be light. From now on (or maybe next year), our troubles will be out of sight.” 

In Leggiuno, Italy, on the shores of Lake Maggiore, someone caught him on a smartphone camera—in a selfie—lurking around an art installation of handmade sculptures all lit up in over half a million Christmas lights.

TOKYO, JAPAN (Richard A. Brooks)

In Hillbrow, a densely populated inner city suburb notorious for violent crimes in Johannesburg, South Africa, Santa made like a member of local private security company Bad Boyz and very warmly ushered in a pensioner to a Central Community Fellowship Church gettogether.

The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live. —George Carlin

Big bikes must be Santa’s new thing, with his sleigh decommissioned after three years stuck in the snow. He arrived at the Pellegrin University Hospital in Bordeaux in southwestern France on a big, bad, roaring motorcycle and, together with the members of the Bordeaux Bikers, bought gifts and Christmas cheer to the children confined at the hospital.

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (Anthony Wallace)

In Tokyo, Santa played activist. He joined the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) outside a fast food chain restaurant in the Shibuya area of Tokyo and called on bystanders and passersby to go vegan during the Christmas season. Carnivores, be gentle on Santa Claus! He was only thinking of the Gen Z or the Alphas, who might have to suffer the full brunt of climate change, of which among the culprits is the animal farming industry, particularly the cattle farms.

Stranger still, also seen in a recent holiday-themed underwater show at the Aqua Planet 63 aquarium in Seoul, South Korea was a diver whom any witness could have sworn by the red suit worn that it was Santa Claus, except that it was a woman.

BAGHAD, IRAQ (Ahmad Al-Rubaye)

Have faith. Santa is a master of camouflage. Unless he is willing to show you himself, he often appears in many disguises, if at all he does, otherwise he sneaks through the chimney or an open window or the crack under the door.

In most cases, Santa appears as a lover, or a friend, and very likely—while you were growing up trying to be more nice than naughty—as your dad, or your mom.

LEGGUINO, ITALY (Piero Cruciatti)

Photos from AFP.