It's less than six weeks until Christmas, and Santa is making his debut in Westfield malls to spread the festive fun.

Westfield malls would have their own Santa Claus stationed in malls with his elves helping kids, families and pets get their holiday shots, from 10am today.

And to welcome the man in red, Westfield Manukau went for a twist on the traditional - setting their Santa up with a pack of pugs dressed in their festive best.

Santa's photoshoot with the pugs was a one-off to promote the mall's pet photography for the silly season.

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Centre manager Jacque Jonson said Manukau's pugs were recruited from the New Zealand pugs Facebook page.

We called for volunteers and had those lovely pugs put their paws up," she said.

"Two of them were local, but one of them came from as far away as Browns Bay to participate."

Santa's arrival marked the start of Christmas photos.

Jonson said sensory photography would be on offer for children with autism, or those who were not comfortable with crowds.

"We'll have special events for them where it can be booked online to come in and have some time with Santa when there isn't the normal crowds."

These sessions would start early, she said, around 7am.

Santa and a few of his little helpers in the form of pug dogs descended on Westfield Manukau as the festive season kicks off. Photo / Dean Purcell
Santa and a few of his little helpers in the form of pug dogs descended on Westfield Manukau as the festive season kicks off. Photo / Dean Purcell

Other Christmassy specials would be featured in malls over the coming weeks.

"As part of Santa's arrival event in centre court, we will also have aerial acrobatics, a choir performance from our Westfield Local Heroes winner Saintz Up, dancing elves and Santa arriving in a spectacular way," Jonson said.

WHERE TO FIND SANTA

Santa Claus will be appearing with his helper elves for Christmas photos in the following Westfield malls:

• Albany

• Manukau

• Riccarton

• St Lukes

Santa will also be appearing in a number of other malls which are not owned by Westfield.