The fat man with the red clothes and white beard is a familiar site to Americans this time of year, but to many of the Chinese that will see Santa Claus next week, it will be their first glimpse.

Communist China does not celebrate Christmas, but about 280 members of the Telephone Pioneers of America, a volunteer service organization, will don the St. Nick's traditional red-and-white garb and visit handicapped workers, orphans and a retirees' home in Beijing Dec. 8, a spokesman announced Tuesday.The 280 Santas, complete with long white beards, will march through the capital and regale residents with Christmas carols.