’Tis the season for Japan’s cosplay models to slip into their cute and sexy Santa outfits.

In some people’s opinion, casting off a belief in Santa is a necessary part of growing up. Others find value in their continued faith that kindness and good deeds will be annually rewarded by a generous guy with a taste for cookies and milk.

But whether you believe in Santa Claus or not, one thing we can all agree on is that Santacos is definitely, unquestionably real.


If you’re not familiar with the term (it won’t show up in your Japanese-English dictionary), Santacos is the term Japan has coined for Santa-themed cosplay, like model Momono Mashiro is engaging in above.. And while Japanese cosplayers dedication to their craft is world-renowned, Santacos is less about slavish dedication to orthodox Santa source material, and more about adapting the design cues of Santa’s iconic wardrobe into cute and/or sexy outfits with plenty of red velvet and snow-white faux fur trim.

▼ Race queen Yu Kikuchi

But even with those design parameters, there’s still a lot of wiggle room for individualized designs that set one outfit apart from others. For example swimsuit model Aoi Hinata has swapped out the traditional Santa cap for a hood instead.


Yuma Shirayuki, meanwhile, take Santacos in an idol/gothic Lolita-inspired direction…


…and cosplayer Hiyori adds candy-cane tights and bunny ears, because when was the last time that headgear didn’t win someone a few extra popularity points?


Since Santacos cosplayers are generally wearing their outfits indoors, as opposed to an open-topped sleigh flying through the mid-winter night sky, exposed-shoulder variations are always popular.

Amano Chiyo

Some, like Yuka Aoi, take the coverage down to a minimum…

…but others, such as Kae Akari, are much more bundled up.

▼ Race queen Kotone Minase

▼ AKB48 idol Yuki Kashiwaga

▼ Santacos video from model and Akihabara-based balloon art designer Yui Uchida

▼ Cosplayer Arisa LayerJpn with the eye-catching choice of a blue Santacos outfit


Looking at all this yuletide spirit, you can practically hear the Santacos contributors shouting “Merry Christmas!”

▼ Or you can actually hear them shouting it here.

So merry Christmas to all, and to all Santacos cosplayers, otsukaresama!

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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’d like to confirm that, yes, he meant “balloon art designer” literally, and not as a euphemism for something else.