"It's special to give the message of love and peace from Jerusalem," says Issa Kassissieh, who says he's the city's only accredited Santa.
There are dozens of churches in occupied East Jerusalem's Old City. But as Christmas beckons, there is just one Santa Claus — a towering Palestinian former basketball player.
Seven years ago, Issa Kassissieh transformed the ground floor of his 700-year-old home into a grotto, complete with candy, mulled wine and a chance to sit on Santa's lap.
Welcoming the season's first visitors to Santa House, the red-suited and bearded Kassissieh belted out a "Ho, ho, ho!" at families queueing to see him.
"We are dealing with many religions here in Jerusalem. We have Muslims, Christians and Jews. I have all religions come to my house. I open my hands to everybody," said Kassissieh, himself a Christian.
At 1.9 metres (six feet three inches) tall, Kassissieh's height served him well as captain of the Palestinian basketball squad, and doesn't seem to intimidate the children he towers over.
"I'm not a Christian, but I still love Santa Claus... We have a (Christmas) tree at home too," said eight-year-old Marwa, a Palestinian Muslim, grinning.
As a child, Kassissieh's father would dress up as Santa for him and his two sisters.
Fifteen years ago, he found his father's suit and decided to slip into the red velvet role. But it has involved more than just putting on a suit.
Since then, he has attended the World Santa Claus Congress in Denmark and studied at a Santa school — yes, there is such a thing — in the US state of Colorado.
Kassissieh displayed a certificate from another centre of Santa learning, the Charles W Howard Santa Claus School, and said his training makes him Jerusalem's only accredited Santa.
Based in Michigan, the Howard school traces its establishment to 1937, making it the world's longest-running.
In his role, he is all too aware of the sensitivities in Jerusalem, a city holy to Muslims, Jews and Christians.
For decades it has been a focal point of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as an Israel-driven erosion of occupied East Jerusalem’s historic religious status quo continues to threaten Palestinian presence in the area, along with Muslim and Christian holy sites.
"It's special to give the message of love and peace from Jerusalem — it's the heart of the world," the Santa of Jerusalem said at his grotto.
"When we have peace in Jerusalem, we will have peace in the world," added Kassissieh, who consciously avoids politics.
For the Jerusalem native, the secret to being a good Santa is simple.
It is "always, to have an answer to the children's questions," he said.