THIS is the festive photo that will perch on mantelpieces in support of a children's charity.

Oxford University Press organised the picture to appear on its Christmas cards this year, starring security officer Mick Busby as Santa and staff's children as his elves.

The cards will be sold to raise funds for Bicester-based Assisted Reading in Oxfordshire (ARCh), which helps struggling children to improve their literacy skills with volunteer readers.

OUP development editor Eric Pradel of the UK education division, who leads the company's Christmas card initiative, said: "We're really proud to support ARCh. These cards not only help to raise vital funds for the charity, but they also highlight the joy of reading – something which is close to all our hearts."

The publishing house based in Jericho's Walton Street also runs an employee volunteer scheme with ARCh.

Four variations of the photo feature on the cards, including two in which Santa is clutching a special Christmas edition of OUP children's book Winnie and Wilbur.

ARCh's development manager Jane Rendle said: "We're delighted about the cards. They're such sweet images, and the sales will provide a real boost to support our work across the county."

The cards are available to purchase from the OUP Bookshop in Oxford High Street, priced at £3.50 for a pack of eight or £5 for a pack of 12.