The hunk-filled mass of flesh for charity that the local gays embraced ever since the inaugural Atlanta Santa Speedo Run inspires a look at Christmas packages past with tips on the 2012 event and how to add flair to your fundraising on Saturday.

The concept, which started in the colder climes of Boston and migrated south in 2009, is deliciously simple. Raise big bucks for a different charity each year by having everyone run through Midtown wearing Speedos accessorized with their own takes on holiday fabulous.

So basically, Atlanta Santa Speedo Run is not a gay-only event. It’s just that almost everything about it is gay, including a huge contingent of runners. What started as 170 people raising eyebrows and $42,000 on Highland Avenue the first year grew into an all-out spectacle of more than 250 runners raising $128,000 for charity by the third Run in 2011.

This year, it won’t be as cold when the new route steps off at Hudson Grille Midtown. But that doesn’t stop 183 individuals and 39 teams raising cash for the cause with creative names like the Unshrinkables, the Snow Jobs, and Santa’s Little Helpers with Big Packages. See? Gay. That’s why it’s one of the Best Gay Things to Do in Atlanta This Weekend.

We’ve already visited the gay and gay-friendly Smirnoff Studs working their money makers for their team. They passed their $1,500 goal this week, so they upped it to $2,000. And most of the Top 10 Fundraisers that the event heralds on its site are, you guessed it, gay.

Check-in starts at 12 noon on Saturday at Hudson Grille, the run begins at 2 p.m., and the course winds up West Peachtree to 15th Street and all the way back down Peachtree Street. Cure Childhood Cancer is 2012’s chosen beneficiary, so the runners will be panting and sweaty but it’ll all worth it.

Whether you want to participate in the run or just watch, check out our photo gallery at the bottom of this post of Santa Speedo visions still dancing in our heads from years past, and get inspired by these thoughts on how to serve the best Santa with your Speedo.



Smells like team spirit

There’ll be lots of Santa hats, and that’s certainly OK. Why not mix it up like these guys did with stove top hats, pipes and scarves? The Speedos may make it way too hot for Frosty the Snowman realness, but since you already mastered bravery by streaking down the streets in your skivvies, go ahead and tackle creativity for bonus points.



Stand out in a crowd

Red is everybody’s color when it comes to holiday cheer and Speedos for a cause. As if running through town in next to nothing wasn’t enough of an attention getter, go green (second photo) to stay on point and set yourself apart.



Ladies with an attitude

Oh yes, lesbians. You’re by no means left out of the hotties with bodies eye candy on display. Santa Speedo Run wraps your packages in little to no clothing for the cause as well. Bikinis, sports bras and running shorts? Stripes, ski caps and fur skirts? Yes, yes, yes yes yes!



Marketing oppoturnities

Sex sells, and everybody knows it. As long as you and yours will be stripping down and raising money, why not raise awareness of your business too? Sandwich boards sort of defeat the fun of near nudity, so paint that logo directly where eyes will land anyway. Of course, chests aren’t the only option.



Dynamic duos

Superheroes are still all the rage, so it’s hard to go wrong as masked holiday avengers. Grab a buddy, throw in some glitter in green, red and gold, strap on a couple of masks, and get… a boombox? OK! And you’re ready to fight for the cause like a true hero.