HE'S your average bloke powered by the magic of Christmas.
This year, Lynch's Hub owner Blake Forrester is taking it upon himself to spread joy to Newcastle families facing mounting financial pressures by helping scratch one task off their 'nice list'.
He's still practising his 'Ho Ho Ho', but Mr Forrester will jump into Santa's big red suit this weekend to offer free Christmas photos to locals down at the foreshore.
"We've got four kids and they're all a bit old for Santa photos now, but we've been there with it and we know it can be very expensive - sometimes up to $40 to $50 for a photo," he said.
"The way things are with costs this year, I feel like people will be choosing between a present for a loved one and a family photo with the kids, so I thought I'll get a suit, sit out the front and people can take their own pictures."
Embodying Santa is no small task and Mr Forrester has been busy watching online tutorials in the hopes he can do the red suit justice.
He plans to keep it pretty traditional, but with one secret alteration to help him beat the sweltering summer temperatures - installing a cooling vest underneath to keep the vibe jolly.
Growing up, Mr Forrester remembers going to see "someone's old man" dressed up as Santa for free at the local park, and he wants to keep that sense of community going.
"It seems like you have to pay for everything these days," he said.
"I guess Lynch's to me has always been a really important part of the urban community in Newcastle.
"What it really means to me is I just love that idea of being part of the fabric in Newcastle, part of the streetscape and community.
"The catalyst to do it this year was definitely the cost of living pressures everyone is going through, but the focus we've had since we've been here is that community orientation."
Members of the public will be able to bring along their own device to take pictures with Santa this Saturday and Sunday from 4pm to 7pm at Lynch's Hub at 292 Wharf Road, with all involved having completed a Working With Children Check.
A donation box will be available with all funds raised going towards Soul Hub's Christmas appeal to give hope to some of the city's most vulnerable and disadvantaged people.
And, it's not just families feeling the pinch this year, with organisations like the Salvation Army in desperate need of toy donations.
Salvos Hunter public relations manager Rod Dibley said it's shaping up to be one of the busiest Christmases on record.
"With the cost of living becoming a larger problem in the Hunter, rising petrol prices, rental affordability and mortgage stress with such high interest rates, this Christmas is going to be stressful for so many," he said.
"The Salvation Army are seeing people that we have never seen before, people that have never had to reach out for help previously.
"We are urging people to give generously to The Salvation Army this year, the need is greater than ever and at this stage we are in urgent need of more toys for families in need."
Mr Dibley said members of the community can drop toys off to their local Kmart, Newcastle Permanent Building Society or Greater Bank branch.
"All donations will stay local to help locals in need here in the Hunter," he said.
Gifts should be new and unwrapped and are accepted for all ages, including teenagers.
The Salvos are hoping for donations of toys, clothing, books and games but for the older kids and teenagers, vouchers, sporting equipment, beauty products and fashion accessories are welcomed.