THE community will redirect all the Christmas love back at Lake Cathie Santa, Ron Hunter, while he replaces his paddle with rest and recovery following a recent operation.
Ron won't be at the lake spreading Christmas cheer for the first time in 13 years, but shares his well-wishes for the festive season from home.
The 78-year-old is a community favourite at the lake each Christmas, paddling around in his red kayak dressed as Santa when the lake is full, or sitting on the foreshore in a camp chair waving to passing motorists.
"The good news is that I'm on the mend. It's disappointing because I had planned to do the Santa at the lake and this has put a stop to it," he said.
"I've been doing it for 13 years and this will be the first one that I'll miss. I'll just have a quiet time at home for Christmas this year and some of the relatives are coming up.
"I'd just like to say that I'm sorry I'm not there to wave to you all in person, but I wish everyone well and hopefully I'll be able to make a return soon in the next year."
Mr Hunter embraced his role as Santa after he was told about the positive impact he had on children travelling past in the school bus.
He did not kayak at Christmas in 2019 due to the unhealthy condition of the lake. Mr Hunter said the health of the lake is still a concern a year on.
"It's very disappointing from the council that they have decided not to do something about the lake," he said.
"The quality of the water is in question and it remains to be seen if there will be any water there when I can kayak again."