Have you ever seen a bell-ringing Santa?

It’s a staple of Christmas movies - the full garb Santa Claus ringing a bell to collect money for Salvation Army. But although I’ve seen plenty of bell-ringers, they’re always dressed in jeans and heavy coats. The only time I see Santas are at the mall. What about you?


Yes, often. Usually at inside locations (like malls).

Every year in front of some big box electronics outlet whose name escapes me at the moment. I’m thinking maybe also Wal-Mart, but I don’t remember as specifically as the other one. (There’s irony in there somewhere.)

They were very common in the downtown area of my childhood. 'Course, malls hadn’t been invented yet, I don’t think. Certainly not like the ones we have now.

I saw Salvation Army bell-ringing Santas in Philly.

They’re all over the place. Like a plague of small, red, urban cows.

I remember a few in years past, but lately they’ve been lacking the beard–just a random guy in a Santa hat and red clothes.

Slightly OT but when I was a kid I always liked to give money to the Salvation Army or someone collecting change for the poor. Mom would usually give me a dollar, or sometimes even five, and let me dump it in the red can. One day we went out to the mall to do some Christmas shopping and mom gave me a bill to put in the red can. “Oh, wow, that’s alot” said the nice woman standing there (not dressed as Santa). “Are you sure you want to give that much?” I said yeah. “I’d better ask your mom, though.” Mom said sure, no problem. The Salvation Army lady seemed particularly happy and thanked us profusely. Later on, mom realized she was missing 100 bucks. Guess what happened to it.

I like to think some orphan or poor person got something extra on Christmas that year because my mom confused a 100 with something smaller.

Yes, it was not uncommon in my youth.

I see them every year.

If they say anything to me, trying to get a donation, I tell them that I’d rather donate to an organization that isn’t steeped in homophobia.

When I was young I saw them, but I don’t recall seeing any in decades now. Actually this season the Salvos working the boxes seem rather apethetic, except for the one guy at K-Mart (Milwaukee and Ashland in Chicago). I give him money because he’s really going out of his way.

There’s a bell-ringer outside the grocery store where I usually shop, and he stands there in jeans, a red coat, and a Santa hat and sings.

But I went to the store the other day and the song he was singing just creeped me out. “Won’t it be great, when we all go to heaven…won’t it be wonderful, when we all get to heaven” etc. etc. Not only is he saying he can’t wait to die, but he can’t wait for all of us to die. And he was just too damn cheerful about it. :dubious: Creepy.

I usually see bell-ringers dressed in sensible winter garb, but from time to time I see some dressed like Santa.

IME, they’re not usually full-on santas, just people in a santa hat. But sometimes, yes, full santa.



I’ve only ever seen uniformed Salvation Army people collecting for the Salvos. Never a Santa.

As for other charities - at most it’s someone wearing a Santa hat. Climate generally militates against collectors wearing the full Santa garb here.

When I was a kid in New York, I saw them all the time. Here in Austin, hardly ever. And it’s NOT as if the Salvation Army doesn’t have a heavy presence here.