Pier Rats – A blog about the soul of the Santa Monica Pier. From the Soul Makers of its history to the Sunset Loungers of the 1990s, “We’re all Pier Rats”.

Soul Makers

Santa Claus – A PIER RAT?

Photo courtesy Stephanie McLean Collection

Could Santa Claus be considered a PIER RAT?

Hmm… Well, the jolly old elf certainly seems to have an affinity for the Santa Monica Pier. Countless times he has visited, always in wintertime. He has been seen riding the historic Merry Go-Round; he has visited by boat – both by sea and by land, er, Pier Bridge; he has held court with long lines while children whispered in his ear their wishes for what they would love to see under the tree on that magical December 25th morning.

His reindeer haven’t made the visit, though, nor have we seen an abundance of elves… But Mrs. Claus has joined the party on a few occasions! Of course, the question isn’t really about Santa’s entourage. We’re talking only about the big, white-bearded man in red.

Photo by Fabian Lewkowicz/ SantaMonicaCloseup.com

He was first documented on the Pier at a Christmas gala event held at the La Monica Ballroom in 1930, hosted by nationally known amusement park entrepreneur Ernest Pickering. However, I strongly suspect that Santa Claus made several appearances before that. Perhaps his special brand of magic allowed him to escape the tabloids. Oops, I mean newspapers.

Documented sightings have been numerous since that 1930 event, of course, and especially in recent decades. It is curious, though, that he only makes his appearances when the weather chills and the days shorten. Does a visit one or two days each year qualify someone to be a PIER RAT?

Hmm, again… Well, by this blog’s definition of what a PIER RAT is – someone who “found their way here, and now they can’t get rid of us” – I think so. Santa found his way here back in 1930 (probably earlier, as I stated before), and through some magnetic force, he somehow sets his shiny black boots on the Pier’s deck boards year-after-year. I’ve known quite a few other, very official PIER RATS, who visit with the same frequency. So yes, I’m going to say it – Santa Claus is indeed a PIER RAT.