Macy’s has a ‘special’ by-request-only Santa who is black

Posted at 11:48 AM, Dec 24, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-24 11:53:15-05

NEW YORK (PIX11) — For thousands of families, waiting on line for hours to see Santa is an annual tradition.

At Macy’s flagship 34th Street store in Manhattan, Santa is working double time.

No, not twice as hard. There are actually two different Santas available for that precious family photo.

Unfortunately, unless you know what question to ask, you’d never know the available switch for good old St. Nick.


The Rodriguez family had no clue little J.J. and Madison had the option of taking a picture with a Santa of color and they didn’t know you need to ask one of the elves for “Special Santa” in order to meet him.

“Once you see a Santa Claus that everybody knows, and then to know, once you walk in, they say we also have a Special Santa,” Rodriguez said. “I actually thought it just was, maybe a Santa Claus that nobody had seen before. Or just an express line.”

Is this ‘other’ Santa a big secret?

We stood in line with John and his family discussing Macy’s motivation.

Was is an obvious attempt to be politically correct? Perhaps, especially since a cable news anchor recently ignited a firestorm by stating her belief that Santa – without a doubt, is in fact white.

But if “Special” Santa is there to accommodate families who would rather see his mug on the mantle, then why not advertise, in some way, his presence and availability to the folks on line?

If Macy’s is going to go through the trouble of hiring a second Santa, why not have both of them sitting in separate booths, and let parents decide which one they want in their family photo?

When asked for detailed answers, Macy’s said “We have upheld the tradition and believe in our hearts that there is only one Santa Claus, and that Santa is all things to all people who believe in the spirit and goodness of Santa.”

This doesn’t answer the question exactly, but gives a little insight into the idea behind the ‘Special Santa.’

That statement doesn’t exactly address why it was necessary to supply a code word, “Special Santa”, or why we needed to be pulled out of line to wait for “Special Santa” to “gear up” and be “snuck” into his photo room, while the “traditional” Santa was hurried out?

When we asked Evelyn Rodriguez if she was satisfied with the Secret Santa arrangement, she said “No. It was horrible. They had to sneak Santa out.”

John Rodriguez said there has to be to handle the Santa switch:  “Obviously, there has to be. But I don’t know how they would do it. But sneaking him in the way they’re doing it is not right. and saying ‘Special Santa’ is ridiculous. “