Move aside, shopping mall Santa.
An Illawarra surf club has taken jolly old Saint Nick to the beach for Santa photos this Christmas, as part of an inventive new fundraiser that is proving a runaway hit.
Gone are Santa’s grand throne-like chair and bedazzled surrounds, replaced by a simple timber bench and a quintessential Australian beach backdrop.
More than 100 families have signed up to have their annual festive photo on the sands of Jones Beach, in a fundraiser for Kiama Downs Surf Life Saving Club.
At $25 per digital photo, the idea is poised to enrich the small club like no fundraiser before it, said club representative Sarah Daniels.
“This has been our most popular and exciting fundraiser yet,” she said.
“Due to its huge success, this will most definitely be permanently placed on our surf club calendar for many years to come.
“It’s for a great cause and offers something different from the mainstream.
“Sun, sand and surf in a relaxed and low-key environment. You can’t get much more Aussie than this.”
The club has a limited number of volunteers to run the Santa operation, which will take place over three Sunday afternoons (November 27, December 4 and December 10) leading to Christmas.
With the majority of timeslots already sold, the club released its remaining 40 bookings on Friday morning. A waiting list is expected to form.
Participating families will be met by Santa’s helpers at the surf club and escorted to the beach for their picture with Santa.
While traditional Santa photos tend to bring out the best-dressed, Ms Daniels expects thongs to feature heavily in the surf club’s pictures.
Kiama Downs club volunteers patrol Jones Beach and respond to emergencies between Bass Point and Bombo Beach. Money raised from the Santa photos will go towards new rescue and training equipment, and supporting the club’s growing number of nippers.
Visit the Kiama Downs SLSC Facebook page to make a booking or to go on the photo waiting list.