Scary Santa photo by Naeem Ebrahimjee.
Sri Lanka’s Santa Clauses are almost uniformly terrifying. They’re skinny, have fake plastic faces and writhe around like Gollum. It’s a bad scene.
Santa As Bank Robber
A Santa Claus should be fat, old and white, or a reasonable facsimile. In Sri Lanka we can’t really do the white (though I did see a white guy that looked like Santa Claus at Electric Peacock), at least not to appropriate scale. The problem is that, instead, we try to make brown people white by using a plastic mask (or full-faced beard). This is just terrifying. Since Santa’s hands are still brown, you also get disturbing brown jazz hands.
The end result is that Santa looks like a bank robber, at best.
Wearing a mask also means that Santa has no human emotions, and thus cannot be jolly. He just has a fixed, manufactured smile that comes off as psychotic.
Santa As Junkie
One thing Sri Lankans can be is fat, or we can at least stuff a pillow in. Sri Lankan Santas don’t do this. They just get the same guy who dresses up as creepy bear to dress up as creepy Santa. It’s just creepy. You get a character swimming in a cheap Santa suit, doing motions more like a trained monkey than anything else. They can’t make eye contact and the end result is just horror.
Overall, it’s just not a good look. There was one Santa on Duplication Road who just wore the mask and some sort of tie-dyed pyjamas. He’s out in traffic writhing at people like we stole his precious. That just makes me cross the street. Sri Lankan children seem somewhat used to this, but no one is sitting on a junkie bank robber Santa’s lap. He can’t talk cause he has no mouth, he can’t make eye contact cause he has no eyes, so he occasionally just gets in your way at the mall and all you can do is take the candy or whatever and get the hell out of there.
It just shouldn’t be done. Sri Lankan Santas are terrifying.