Ho-ho-hot: 'Fashion Santa' has adults lining up for mall pictures with St Nick Model Paul Mason isn’t your typical mall Santa, and he’s posing for selfies with shoppers to raise money for Toronto’s Sick Kids Foundation More adults are lining up to snap a photo with Santa this year, because the St Nick at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre does not have a belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly. He’s fashionable, slim and some have even called him “hot”. Paul Mason, a model for 30 years for some of the world’s leading brands, said people immediately started commenting on how much he resembled Santa when he grew out his beard. Now, he has helped Yorkdale launch their Christmas shopping campaign by posing as Fashion Santa. Pictures of Mason dressed up as Fashion Santa in various parts of the mall immediately began to circulate: Mason in a plaid jacket and scarf on the roof, Mason in a red leather jacket snapping a selfie, Mason in fitted black jeans while dragging a Christmas tree, Mason in a velvet jacket and overcoat in an underground parking lot. Fashion Santa. Fashion Santa: ‘Something magical.’ Photograph: Yorkdale “I’m not sure anyone expects a campaign to go viral,” Mason said. “As you can imagine, I’m very pleased. There’s also something special about spreading joy at this time of year.” Mason can also be found at Yorkdale posing for selfies with shoppers to raise money for Sick Kids Foundation, which raises funds on behalf of Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. Yorkdale initially promised to donate $1 to Sick Kids Foundation for every selfie snapped with the fashionable Santa and posted on social media with the hashtag #YorkdaleFashionSanta, up to $10,000. But according to marketing director Lucia Connor, Yorkdale now plans on donating $10,000 to the Foundation in January no matter how many selfies are accumulated. “I think people were really attracted to the fact that this guy looks good, he looks like Santa, he has a warm smile, sparkling blue eyes. If you had to envision a Fashion Santa, this is it,” Connor said. The campaign, which was briefly debuted last year, has gained worldwide attention this year. Yorkdale, a high-end shopping centre with both Canadian and international luxury brands, learned from last year’s campaign and “elevated the look of this year’s campaign” with “more luxury, high-end fashion”, according to Connor. Advertisement “There’s something about Paul Mason. He transcends through the photos,” Connor said. “We knew we had something magical this year. And we thought what better way to cut through the competitive clutter.” “I’ve taken photos with everyone from newborn babies to 70-year-old women and even puppies,” Mason said. “Most people seem to be excited about the concept of taking a picture with Santa again and getting into the holiday spirit. I had an elderly woman take a photo with me the other day who couldn’t stop giggling and said she hadn’t taken a photo with Santa since she was six.” Marline Price-Jones from Vaughan, Ontario, described Mason as “tall, good looking, personable and ready with a warm smile for every snapshot taken”. She was in the area on business on 5 December, when she heard about Fashion Santa on the news, so she decided to drop by. She and her daughter found a line waiting for them: “It was early afternoon and the line was constant.” But according to Price-Jones, the staff was efficient. Fashion Santa ‘Tall, good looking, personable and ready with a warm smile for every snapshot taken.’ Photograph: Yorkdale Kurtis Meister, a 30-year-old programmer from Toronto also visited the mall that day. He and some friends were on their way to Yorkdale for some lunch and shopping when they heard about the event and “couldn’t resist the opportunity”. Meister said it “seemed like a fun thing to do, and a great photo to share”. And while he did say it “seemed like a fairly normal day at the mall”, he did notice that “the attention was certainly growing and was turning heads from people who didn’t know”. “He’s great and was entirely gracious for the attention this promotion is getting,” Meister said of Fashion Santa. But still, compared to the “kid friendly” Santa in a separate part of the shopping centre, Fashion Santa’s crowd was small, Meister added. Mason will be at the mall and camera-ready once more on 18, 19, 20, and 23 December.