I’ve never gone to “see Santa.” I was brought up Muslim and was shielded from much of the seasonal festivities, so I never really got the point of Santa “existence.” So, I decided to make up for twenty-something Santa-less years all at once by going to see every famous Saint Nicholas in New York City. Check it.

Macy’s Santa (pictured above)
The Macy’s Santa is seriously awesome. The wait was a bit longer than 20 minutes, but nobody in line seemed to mind. It was a combination of the fantastic decor and animatronic characters that really got me pumped to sit on this Santa’s lap. He was super cool about me being a Muslim, so on behalf of Muslims everywhere, thank you all-inclusive Santa!


The Plaza Food Hall
This Santa was one of my favorites. Only because I asked if he would pose for me and he said under his breath, “I’ll do whatever you want me to do.”


Sky View Mall
This Santa is easily the jolliest of the Santas. Doesn’t mind breaking character and throwing up a peace sign to spread some smiles.


Queens Center Mall
I hate this Santa. The first time I pulled out my camera to photograph this one, his posse dressed in full elf costume dove into my view and blocked the shot. I had to reshoot it from afar with the mall cops keeping a close watch.


Bloomingdales
The only Santa who actually “Ho-ho-ho”-ed at me, and for that I thank you, Bloomingdales’ Santa.


Rockafeller Center
This Santa was serious about getting paid. After arguing with his staff about taking his photo, they stood firmly with their answer, “No.” Immediately after taking this photo I was asked to leave.

So… what did I learn about Santa? It’s not a bad concept when you get everyone to play along. Thanks, Santas!