The Santas who are spreading extra Christmas magic

These Santas are winning Christmas.
These Santas are winning Christmas. Photo: Supplied

This year we've seen some Santas go above and beyond their usual role in shopping centres and Christmas grottos around the world.

Here are just a few that have been spreading the Christmas magic for both kids and adults alike.

Signing Santa

When a little girl with hearing problems sat on Santa's lap in a UK shopping centre, her mum explained that she couldn't speak very well. Santa responded in an unexpected way.

"Can she sign at all?" he asks.

"Yeah, she can do animals and things like that," the mother replied. "She's getting there."

Santa then taps the smiling little girl on the shoulder and they begin to have a basic conversation in sign language.

The footage was uploaded to the shopping centre's Facebook page, with the caption, "A beautiful moment we caught this weekend with Santa ... This truly captures the spirit of Christmas we feel at the Cleveland Centre whenever Santa visits!"

Snoozing Santa

Two weeks ago, photos of 6-month-old Zeke Walters, 6 months, together with Santa, went viral. The reason? Zeke and Santa were having a snooze together.

As Zeke's parents explained on the viral photos, their son fell asleep while waiting in line to see Santa in a US shopping centre.

Instead of waking him, Santa suggested take the photos of them napping together.

"I can't believe how adorable our son's pictures with Santa came out," dad Donnie wrote of the shots. "After falling asleep in line waiting, Santa asked us not to wake him and the outcome was the cutest thing I've ever seen."

Cool Santa

Sometimes kids don't want to smile for their Santa pic. They're tired, they're overstimulated, they're just over it. Or maybe they're just tired of smiling while waiting to get the 'perfect' shot.  

So to get into the spirit, this Aussie Santa turned on the funny to match the kids. As they say - if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

Inclusive Santa

When Brayden was diagnosed with autism at age 2, his mum Erin was thrown into an uncertain world.

One thing she thought she never get to see? Her son sitting with Santa. "I thought we would never get those holiday pictures with him because it's something he can't handle – the noise, and the pressure," she told People magazine. "He gets anxious if you ask him to smile, it's all too much for him."

Then Erin discovered the Caring Santa program, a program run through the US group Autism Speaks. Specially trained Santas are brought in at quiet times to give children a chance to meet the jolly man in a more controlled environment. 

And this year, Brayden was able to meet Santa after all.

"Brayden was shy and inched his way over slowly and then Santa just slowly gets out of his seat and gets on the ground and starts playing with the toys that my son brought," she says. 

Photos of the pair playing on the floor together have since gone viral.

"Oh my gosh, to be able to do something that other families do...normally a lot of things are harder for us as a family and we got to do the same tradition as everyone else, we just do it on the floor," Erin said.   

Singing Santas

There's a lot more to becoming a shopping centre Santa than putting on a costume and saying "ho ho ho", as a recent photo essay from a 'Santa School' in Brazil shows.

We just loved this pic of Santas in singing training – they've got to get their Jingle Bells down pat before spreading the Christmas magic!