Because Portlandia... Hipster Santa

One tattoo says "Naughty." The other says "Nice."

(Beth Slovic)

No tradition in Portland—holiday or otherwise—is immune to the Portlandia effect.

Exhibit 1,347: The scene inside Pioneer Place mall in the courtyard next to H&M each Thursday starting at noon.

There, parents tired of boring old Santas who can't tell Weezer from Lil Weezy are treated to a Father Christmas much more to their tastes—Hipster Santa.

On a recent Thursday, when snow blanketed the city and only a few shoppers milled about, a plump older gentleman with a frosty white beard and matching hair pulled into a man bun held court on an oversized chair upholstered in fabric patterned after the carpet at PDX. He wore black-rimmed glasses and a Big Lebowski sweater.

His forearm tats were barely visible beneath the sleeves. One arm says "Naughty." One says "Nice." On request, he'll show off his ink in pictures.

"Hipster Santa! Hipster Santa!" my 4-year-old daughter chanted as she raced to the front of the line in her '80s retro-vintage (OK, fine, hand-me-down) Christmas dress.

Rather than chuckle with a belly like a bowlful of artisanal quince preserves, Hipster Santa merely waved in slow motion as she approached. His Miles Davis cool didn't put off my 4-year-old, however. He was as good as any other option, as far as she could tell.

"What would you like Santa to bring you for Christmas?" he asked as she plopped down smiling next to him, preserving at least this one part of the sit-on-a-stranger's-lap-at-the-mall tradition.

On top of Hipster Santa's chair, with the PDX carpet upholstery, perched a little brown sparrow. For adult onlookers, it called to mind another ironic character with tufts of white hair and bags of undelivered gifts—Bernie Sanders. BETH SLOVIC.

GO: Hipster Santa is at Pioneer Place, 700 SW 5th Ave., on Thursdays starting at noon.

Welcome to the Portland Winter Bucket List

Soaking in Bagby Hot Springs Is a Portland Rite of Passage

The Yard Apartment Building Now Has a Fancy Indoor Hot Spring

Huber's Historic Spanish Coffee Is an Institution, But Not As Old As You Might Think

Catch a Fire at Hale Pele, One of the Nation's Great New-Wave Tiki Bars

Out In East Portland, a Zen Master of Tea Brings You Into the Moment

One of Portland's Top Chefs is Reviving the Russian Tea Tradition

The Grotto is a Shrine To Old Portland Tradition

Cheer The Fuck Up, With This Local DIY Choir

Timberline Lodge is Oregon's Most Famous Building, And a Decent Hotel

Suttle Lake Lodge Brings New Portland Sensibilities To The Wilds of Central Oregon

You Can See The Next Kevin Garnett at the Les Schwab Invitational

Former Blazer Terry Porter is Making University of Portland Hoops Relevant

Dan & Louis has Been Shucking Oysters Downtown for a Century

Get Tipsy and Eat Oysters You've Never Seen Before in a Grocery-Store Fish Market

Macy's Santaland Brought Back its Wonderful Kiddie Train (Sorta)

Sit On Hipster Santa's Lap Because…Portlandia

Your Last-Chance List of Now-or-Never Winter Deadlines in Portland

Willamette Week’s reporting has concrete impacts that change laws, force action from civic leaders, and drive compromised politicians from public office. Support WW's journalism today.