There's a new Santa in town, and he's sporting a fake beard.
Macy's in downtown Portland has replaced the longtime Santas, known for their full, naturally white beards, from the Portland Santa company with new Santas who may use wigs and fake beards.
Portland Santa has run the Santaland feature for nearly 30 years, first at Meier and Frank, then at Macy's, when the department store took over the building.
The company was notified they were being replaced this summer, said manager Joe Hawes.
The news, first reported by the Portland Mercury, has disappointed some families.
"Tradition is very important to our family, and you just don't break from tradition that easily," said Leigh Anne Wilkes, a northwest Portland resident whose family takes a photo with Santa every year. "So it was kind of a disappointment that he was no longer going to be there and that's who they're used to. Even though, they're now young adults, that's their Santa."
Portland Santa is turning their disappointment into opportunity. The company is setting up shop in Pioneer Courthouse Square on Dec. 14, and the natural-bearded Saint Nicks will be available to take photos and hear wish lists.
A Macy's spokeswoman did not comment on the reason for the switch but released a statement, saying, "Macy's believes in the spirit of the season and the magic of Santa. We deliver that experience to kids of all ages across the nation. Our Santaland experience is magical in every location and we also have traditions we uphold in local communities. Macy's Santaland in Portland has a new look while retaining its holiday traditions."
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