Best Atlanta Santa

I took the wee ones to see Santa today. Our Santa of choice is the East Atlanta Santa. This year is Santa’s second year visiting Santa at Joe’s coffee shop in East Atlanta Village. If you are looking for the fancy pants Santa, with a huge production set, and fake snow, and creepy animatronic figures all around, this Santa is not for you. Looking for a laid-back and affordable, no hassle Santa? This is your Santa.

East Atlanta Santa came about last year after East Atlanta Village parents bemoaned the hassle of the mall santas. Like any great community, East Atlanta worked together to make their very own Santa happen! When all was said and done, the community had taken the Santa idea and run with it, even adding a Toys for Tots donation to the mix.

So, for the second year in a row, we headed over to the coffee shop for our 2 pm appointment. Not too crowded, so we signed in at the registration on the back porch, got our number, and headed inside to fuel up with coffee, cookies, and hot chocolate. Joe’s owner Dawn greeted us personally! You don’t get that at the mall!

We went outside to the back garden (they have a fish pond on a patio) and sipped our drinks, chatting with the other folks. New this year is a small craft selection – leatherwork, paintings, handmade jewelry and hair doodads, and knitted hats and scarves. You can shop, while drinking coffee, and not even have to stand in line. I thought the craft expo was a great addition.

My kids dropped their toy donation in the box. What a great, positive way to talk to your kids about helping others. Positive reinforcement! Did I mention that not just kids were there to get their pictures snapped? Pets are welcome too, and most people dress their pets up a bit. My kids loved petting the holiday-clad pups, and I loved chatting with the old neighbors. The Santa and his elves are great. They take the time to warm timid children up to the idea of sitting on a stranger’s lap, they give out candy canes, and they take their time getting some great shots of the kids and the pets. (I am sure that adults are welcome, too, but I didn’t actually see any sitting on Santa’s lap.) For those, who care about the look of the Santa, this is the traditional red-and-white suit Santa. No fancy plaid vests, green velvet outfits, etc. This is no Phipps Plaza or Lenox Mall Santa.

When our number came up, we headed up on the porch, the kids climbed up on Santa’s lap, and they had a great chance to talk to Santa about the “million thousand hot wheels” and the other crap they want. It’s really fun to watch other peoples’ turns, too, and see the kids wailing in fear, or the tattooed owners with silly dogs that actually look like they are smiling for the camera. Lingering for the show is encouraged. You pay fifteen bucks for the Santa sit and then you wait around after your turn, and they hand you CD with the photos on it. You can do whatever you want with them. Great idea.

All in all, it was a fantastic experience. He’s there tomorrow, too, and they take walk-ins. Totally recommend it.

Do you have a favorite Atlanta Santa? Spill it.

5 Comments so far

  1. Best Atlanta Santa | Attract Shoppers (pingback) on December 6th, 2008 @ 6:31 pm

    […] rest is here:  Best Atlanta Santa December 6, 2008 • Tags: atlanta-santa, atlanta-village, generation, simplicity […]

  2. Cap'n Ken (capnken) on December 7th, 2008 @ 9:10 am

    Thanks for the kind words about our Santa, and glad you have enjoyed it. We started it last year on a whim (looking back at EAV Buzz, I see I first brought up the notion on Nov. 18 and we had the event three weeks later) and were astounded at the success of it. I think we had right at 50 photos last year in just the one day.

    But it’s just the perfect thing for East Atlanta and I’m proud to say really reflects what our neighborhood is all about. I brought up the idea because we had our first kid last year, and the idea of trotting out to a mall for the obligatory Santa photo just made my skin crawl. And with a lot of other folks around here having kids in the past couple of years, there was a lot of similar thinking.

    The great thing, though, is how well-geared East Atlanta was to pull this off. Having Dawn & Al at Joe’s as host is perfect, but the really amazing this is the event is totally run by volunteers from the neighborhood. From promotion to scheduling to staffing the event, these folks are all neighbors giving their time and energy because they love East Atlanta and see the value of community. Most of our volunteers – including Santa and our elves – don’t have kids, which tells you a whole lot about community means to us.

    So we end up with a Santa event at our local coffee shop where we see a bunch of our friends and do the Santa photos thing as a community. No, our Santa doesn’t have a real beard – but there could be no better Santa experience than the way we do it. I’d love to see more communities retake Santa from the malls and think about what is really important about this tradition.

  3. annie on December 7th, 2008 @ 10:36 am

    Well-put, Ken. Thanks for the comments! It was wonderful seeing the old neighbors. I’m sorry I missed you and your family – the pics looked great.

    Now i probably need to start thinking about when my oldest is going to start figuring out the faux beard. . .

  4. james hervey (jeherv) on December 8th, 2008 @ 12:09 pm

    i ran into dawn at the kroger last night. proprietors like she and al, and neighbors like the cap’n are why the eav is so great.

  5. annie on December 8th, 2008 @ 5:05 pm

    Agreed, James.

    Thought I would also mention that one year, before the EAV Santa came about, we used the Grant Park Santa. I believe it was at the Methodist Church over there. It was great, too, but involved more of a wait. Still better than Mall Santa, though.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.