Melbourne shopping precinct replaces Santa with a more ethical, fit alternative

In the legendary words of Bob Dylan: The times, they are a changing.

That is the message from the group that presides over Melbourne’s famous shopping hot spot along Chapel Street, and why Santa is getting a serious makeover.

No longer will he be an overweight slob in a red suit who cruelly submits his reindeer to hard labour, but rather a healthy, yoga-loving version that reflects better values for today’s Aussie youth. Out with the reindeer and in with the adopted dog and thrift shop board shorts.

Going by the name Summer Santa, the General Manager of the Chapel Street Precinct, Chrissie Maus, says the character is more appropriate for the times.

“The Chapel Street Precinct is evolving and so too is our Santa,” she told Melbourne radio station 3AW Friday.

“We have such a diverse and forward thinking community so we thought how can we make our Santa Claus more ethically conscious?”

The answer, apparently, is by dressing him up in summer-appropriate clothes from an op shop.

Much better, right? Source: Chapel Street Precinct Association

The new take on the classic character means Santa is into Yoga now.

“He’s got himself a Chapel Street gym membership, and what a role model, he’s got himself into shape and he’s on Chapel Street showing our kids that is the best way to live our lives,” Ms Maus said.

He has the “same message of love as the northern Santa, he’s just healthier”.

“We need to make sure we have a good role model for our kids and the Chapel Street precinct Summer Santa is that.”

While the Chapel Street Precinct says it is reflecting the progressive ethos of the community, some have accused them of taking the fun out of Christmas by turning him into a woke hipster.

One woman even called Ms Maus saying she had ruined Christmas.

Online, others also seemed a little miffed by the change.

“Grown ups know he’s not real right??” joked one person.

“What kid has ever claimed they aspire to be Santa when they grow up?” another said.

It comes after a Melbourne childcare centre got culture warriors worked up earlier this week by replacing Santa with Sustainability Pirate at its end of year celebration.

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