Meet Ala Moana Center’s New Santa Claus

He may look the same, but behind that mask, there are some big changes in the Honolulu mall’s first new Santa sculpture in 60 years.



Santa Claus came to town in 30 pieces in 2020. Ala Moana Center unveiled its first brand new Santa since the mall debuted the signature statue in 1959, the year it opened. The first Santa was made out of wire mesh and papier-mache, weighed 3,400 pounds and measured 15 feet across his belly. He debuted on Nov. 27, wearing striped pants and polka dot gloves to go with his classic jacket.


Over the years, the statue did go through some maintenance. His eyes were made bigger and the gloves came off. Maintenance teams usually spent about a week power washing, wiping down or repainting him before a crane installed Santa in three main sections: legs, then torso and, finally, the head. (Anyone remember seeing headless Santa standing on top of the parking structure?)


The 2020 version is made out of fiberglass and resin. Time lapse video shows how the 30 pieces are moved into place with motors and moving platforms. And, yes, according to city guidelines, he is wearing a mask.


Santa will stay in his spot on the ‘Ewa end of the parking structure along Ala Moana Boulevard until early January.