Photography courtesy of Justin Schwartz

Sorry, NorthPark. Santa doesn’t want to fight the crowds at the mall this year, so he’s flying his sleigh straight to neighbors’ homes for their holiday portraits.

Old East Dallas photographer Justin Schwartz happens to know Santa and is accompanying the big man in the red suit on his visits to homes and Dallas parks as his official elftographer.

Photography courtesy of Justin Schwartz

Santa Clayton has been delighting children and families for more than 50 years. He’s visited schools, restaurants, holiday parties and more, but his business declined this season because of the coronavirus.

“Everyone understands you have to be safe this year, but we can’t cancel Santa,” Santa Clayton said. “Justin was doing some great pictures. We started thinking, ‘Hey, let’s do this on the weekends.’ It gave us both some opportunities to work and help neighbors see Santa. I’m excited to do the portraits because I enjoy seeing the kids’ faces light up.”

The pair performed a trial run with some family friend and then began accepting bookings at the end of October.

Even Santa is at risk of catching the coronavirus, so the pair will be taking several health and safety precautions. Photo subjects will have their temperatures taken before the shoot, and everyone must wear masks while the photo is being staged. Masks can be removed while Schwartz is taking pictures, although masks may be included in some images. Santa will be located a few feet behind the family.

The photo shoot includes up to 45 minutes with Santa, 20 final images delivered within 72 hours and a digital gallery for download, with the option to create and purchase Christmas cards. The cost is $200.

“It’s just a fun take on photography,” Schwartz said. “I’ve been doing weddings and portraits for so long, and I just love orchestrating groups and doing something different. COVID is stressful, but this is a good example of being entrepreneurial and having some fun.”

Book your visit with Santa at

Photography courtesy of Justin Schwartz