Feathers and lily-white beards flew as 100 sack-fighting Santas appeared in mobs around Wellington's inner city this afternoon.
In three locations - Civic Square, the waterfront and Cuba Mall - festive members of Adventure Wellington appeared quietly from all angles only to erupt in shouting while swatting each other with their Santa sacks.
Once initial thoughts of danger subsided, onlookers raised cameras to capture the unusual sight.
Adventure Wellington organiser Roy Hoogmoed said it was a fun way to end a good year, that included fundraising events like a Zombie run on Somes Island and setting the sandcastle world record on Lyall Bay.
The charitable trust's members had the chance to let out some harmless aggression in preparation for family gatherings.
And they wanted to spread some cheer among stressed out Wellingtonians doing last minute shopping.
"People are quite amazed. There were a lot of people laughing, taking photos and pulling out their smartphones."
Victoria University student Puawai Chapman, 20, said it was "so cool" to have her first flashmob experience while Christmas shopping on Cuba Mall.
She and friends heard noises outside Farmers, and thought it was a street fight.
But when they emerged outside, there were masses of scruffy Santas surrounding the iconic bucket fountain.
"Only in spunky Wellington. The crazy things you see here, we're so styly like that."
It brightened her day, and lifted any feelings of holiday stress, she said.