Black Santa Today, and Yesterday

by Susan Fried

I’ve taken photos of children with Santa Claus for more years than I can remember. I even had a brief stint as a Santa photographer at Nordstrom in downtown Seattle in the early 1990s.  

This year with the coronavirus changing everything, I thought it would be the first year in a very long time that I wouldn’t get to hang out with jolly Saint Nick. I needn’t  have worried. The community wasn’t going to let a pandemic  interfere with children getting to see Santa, so they came up with some workarounds. Communities in Seattle did everything from putting Santa into a giant snow globe, separating the children from him with a plastic divider, going virtual, and holding drive-thru Santa visits.  

The Santas that showed up Dec.19 at  the Rainier Beach Community Center and the Rainier Beach Community Club had to wear masks and endure rain but they still managed to bring smiles to dozens of children.  The families drove through, visited with Santa, and received free food and Christmas presents.

Visiting with Santa will probably never be the same after 2020 but it is a tradition that seems to be able to adapt to change quite well.




Susan Fried has been a Seattle-based photojournalist for more than two decades.

Featured image by Susan Fried