The Santa Clause photo tradition is one that most families look forward to every year. It’s been a few years since I’ve taken my son to get photos with Santa, mainly because he’s a teen and apparently teens are too cool for those photos. *Cries in Spanish*

I miss those days of dressing up my son for Santa photos, but what still brings me joy is seeing my family and friends sharing their special Santa family photos, however there’s one local Santa that always catches my attention because the photos are like none I have ever seen!

I went to high school with Ivan Cano and he has always had a passion for theater so it was no surprise to see that he would do an amazing job at playing Santa for family photo time!

What began in 2007 as a simple gesture for the little ones in his own family has evolved into a cherished annual tradition that has touched the lives of many.

"I started it for the little kids in my family," Ivan said. "Went to deliver toys on Christmas Eve...cookies and milk, the whole 9 yards." 

Ivan jokingly said that after his mom saw how great he did as Santa, she “pimped” him out and eventually he was visiting her friends, leading to home visits for about 10 families each year.

In 2016, Ivan decided to take his Santa game to the next level by teaming up with local photographer Blanca Gonzalez. Together, they created enchanting Santa family photos that captured the magic of the season. 

Their collaboration has not only become a holiday staple for numerous families but has also earned them the title of the official Santa for The Junior League's A Christmas Fair for the past six years.

Ivan’s take on Santa is so unique because it is inspired from the classic Coca-Cola Santa, complete with makeup that Ivan expertly applies himself. 

With a background in musical theatre and experience at Walt Disney World, Ivan brings a warmth and charm to his Santa character that transcends the traditional image.

"I'm not your traditional old man Santa," Ivan said. "My Santa is a warm and cuddly pretty Santa who really pushes the magic!" 

His dedication to spreading joy has made him a sought-after Santa, and he has even been invited to be the Santa for The Shoppes at Solana.

Ivan said that being Santa is not just about the suit—it's about spreading kindness and happiness throughout the year. 

"Anyone can be a Santa," he said. "It's a very prestigious club."

As Ivan gears up for another busy holiday season, he remembers watching families return year after year, from pregnancy to full-blown teens.

If you want to schedule a photo shoot with Ivan for Christmas you’ll have to wait until next year because they are fully booked for Christmas minis this year, but Ivan and Blanca will be at The Shoppes at Solana on December 16th, 17th, and the 23rd from 12 pm to 6 pm, spreading joy and creating lasting memories for families who want to capture the magic of the season with Santa Ivan.

Ivan Cano El Paso Santa

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