Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sunday Spotlight on Nicholas Claus

This week at The Pink Heart Society we are proud, ecstatic and truly honoured to bring you the inspirational figure behind hundreds of books, poems, songs and films. He is a man in a trillion, and a legend in several lifetimes... Ladies and Gentlemen, sparing us a day out of the busiest time of the year, it's Santa Claus, or as we like to call him, Nick...

About Nick:

Well, I live in Lapland for the majority of the year at the family's ancestral home, handed down from generation to generation, somewhat like the family business. It's a beautiful place to live and really, with my wife and so many friends and colleagues living on the estate I never feel the need to stray too far. Though I do like to travel, particularly with work - where I have gained enough frequent flier miles to do several lifetimes, mostly on one day of the year as it happens...

Interestingly, I'm known not just as Nick, as I have several pseudonyms that I work under: In Austria: Christkind, Belgium: Sinterklaas, Canada: Santa Claus; Père Noël, Denmark: Julemanden, Estonia: Jõuluvana, Finland: Joulupukki , France: Père Noël, Germany: Weihnachtsmann - Christkind in southern Germany, Hungary: Mikulás ("Nicholas"); Jézuska or Kis Jézus, Italy: Babbo Natale, La Befana, Netherlands & Flanders: Sinterklaas (not with Christmas but on December 5th). Norway: Julenissen, Portugal: Pai Natal, Russia: Ded Moroz,
Spain: Los Reyes Magos, Sweden: Jultomten, Switzerland: Christkind, United Kingdom: Father Christmas; Santa Claus, United States: Santa Claus. It's a lot of names, meaning a lot of things, but at the end of the day I'm still me, and it's lovely to know after so many millenia that the family name is still so well known. It makes me feel very humble.

The red coat is 'new' by the way... Images of Father Christmas prior to about 1880 mostly showed
us with a green coat. The red became the most popular colour after the US introduction by Coca Cola during the 1930s.Father Christmas was originally part of an old English midwinter festival, normally dressed in green, a sign of the returning spring. The Ghost of Christmas Present in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is based on Father Christmas. He is described as a large man with a red beard and fur-lined green robe. So there you go!

Spotlight Interview:

Where do you get the inspiration for your work from?

My work is very tightly tied to the family business, which can be dated back as far as AD 596 in England! But mostly the inspiration comes from the joy I get to see on children's faces at the very mention of Christmas. I'm aware it has become a very commercial time of the year in the last few decades, but the spirit and the excitement of the season never leaves the young people and is echoed in the older folks when children are around, even if they may have forgotten some of that joy themselves as they got older. It's hard not to be inspired to keep working to the level we do here every year when the happiness of so many relies on what we do. But the rewards far outweigh the work I feel... In fact, I think I'm very lucky, particularly these days, when so many 'bosses' aren't as well liked as I'm lucky enough to be. But it's the faces of the children, most definitely...All the chaos and any stress is quickly forgotten on Christmas morning...

What makes you mad?

Well, the elves can be a tad mischievous when we have the years work completed. We take a few weeks holiday in January and then I like to escape for a nice weekend in February with Mrs. Claus. I won't begin to tell you the silly things they get up to when we're away!!!

But mostly I would have to say it's the people that forget the goodwill of this time of the year that irritate me most. Being old and 'sensible' seems to mean that they should walk around trying to put a bit of a dampner on the festivities of others. If even one day a year the whole world smiled and forgot their troubles then I'd be a very happy man - ho, ho, ho!

What’s the most romantic thing that has ever happened to you?

I have to say, that Mrs. Claus is a very private soul. So she shys away from all the publicity that goes with my job. But meeting her was probably the most romantic thing outside of the love I see around the world at this time of year. It can be a lonely job without her there, she's very supportive, always makes sure I'm correctly turned out, runs the household chores while I'm busy and never complains - and she always has a nice meal ready when I get back from work! And every year she has a present under the tree for me. Which is VERY romantic. Because it's one of the very few I don't know about before I open it.

What characteristics do you consider heroic?

Anyone who makes the time to ensure their neighbour or a friend or someone less fortunate has as good a Christmas as them gets the vote in my book! Just something simple like a card or a small gift can bring a smile to someones face at this time of year, to those people we might walk past every year... And it gladdens my heart to see so many charities benefiting from this time of year. No matter what else may be going on in the world, people still make the time for a little generosity and consideration at christmas - and that, to me, is heroic!

If you weren’t Santa what would you be?

Well I think I have the best job in the world as it is! Though I do have a wonderful singing voice in the shower, like most men, and Mrs. Claus says when I take the time, I can cook up quite a feast. So maybe a singing chef?

What do you do to relax and wind down?

After Christmas, we do take a short break and I enjoy getting away to a little sunshine if I can. I like to ski a little too. But mostly I love doing drawings of ideas I have for new toys and staying in contact with the people who help me develop them. Mrs Claus and I often take long walks together too so we can talk about how the business is going or share any nice letters we received that year from the children.

How do you get out of a working rut?

Ho, ho, ho - I don't have much time to get into a rut! All I have to do is pop over the the admin department and read some of the letters and that's enough motivation to keep going!

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

Lapland remains the best place to live for me. It's still lovely and rural, though we do have more of a touristy industry here now than we once did! We've been very fortunate to keep the real location of our home hidden for so long, particularly with the invention of satellites and the world being as well mapped out as it now is. I think to live anywhere else would make our work more difficult and being too public would take away some of the magic of it, don't you think? Also Mrs. Claus would hate it if photographers were taking pictures of everything she wore every day! You should see some of the things she's wearing these days to feed the reindeer!

Who would you most like to give a hug to for a fabulous book you’ve read?

Well obviously I'm a fan of Charles Dickens. The story is a little dark in places, but the spirit and the meaning behind it helps to remind us all about what's important at Christmas.

What music do you listen to when working?

We like to listen to the kind of Christmas tunes that have a nice beat to them to help us keep our steps light and singing along. The elves were particularly thrilled with The Smurfs Christmas Album and Mrs. Claus has an irritating addiction to Boney M - for myself I like the classics and a large orchestra...

Tell us a secret nobody knows about you?

I don't think there's too much that people don't know about me now! With so many films and books on the go it's tough to keep a little of that mystery. And the biggest secrets I have would involve how I get into places without chimneys (especially with so many house alarms now) and how I manage to get all around the world in one go undetected by radar... Thing is, if I tell you those things then a little of the magic may well disappear. And we just can't have that now can we? Ho, ho, ho... I guess the only think I could share would be the secret amusement I get from seeing peoples pets dressed up for Christmas. Mrs. Claus's dogs even have antlers...

What was your most embarrassing moment?

Well, there have been a few times I've gotten caught leaving presents under the tree! Most children are very good about it - but the very odd one doesn't believe it's really me and I get quite red in the face trying to explain to them that I'm not their Father - Father Christmas, but not their father - if you know what I mean...

What have you had to celebrate in the last year?

Keeping everything on schedule!!! It's always tight right up to the last minute, and that last week before Christmas Eve can be terribly stressful! But somehow we always manage to pull together and get things done, and I'm very grateful to all my helpers world-wide for that! It's that behind the scenes work that makes all the difference!!!

What’s beside your computer when you’re checking the naughty/nice database?
I have an extreme weakness for hot chocolate with those little floaty marshmallow things in - though they don't help the waistline any! A plate of cookies. A pen to tick off the masterlist the elves give me, a picture of Mrs. Claus and a great photo we all had taken on holiday a few years ago. You haven't seen anything that will put a smile on your face quite like a couple of dozen elves in sunglasses and bathing suits!

If you could kiss anyone in the world who would it be?

Well, Mrs Claus obviously!

What are you working on now?

I have the last edits of the naughty/nice list to go over this next week. Even the week before Christmas Eve children sometimes forget that the elves who compile our database are still at work!!! We also have the office party here next week so we're trying to make sure that all the food is in place and that we have enough party hats... Then it's the last push to get all the presents ready, wrapped and under the tree... Oh dear. And I really should get Mrs. Claus's present organized! I always seem to leave that to the last minute! And this year she has a list of books she wants to read! Maybe you nice people could recommend some for her???

Thanks Nick!!!

It's not too late to get in contact with Nick! You can visit him at his award winning website at and even email him at:


  1. Thanks for sharing, Nick!

  2. Thanks for the insight into your life Nick. It was jolly fabulous!


  3. Thanks for popping in Nick!!! Its really interesting to hear about your life - especially some of those little details about Mrs. Claus...

    And your website is FAB! I spent ages there already!

  4. Merry Christmas, Santa!

    Nell Dixon

  5. What a wonderful interview! But hey, why does it say North Pole on those links and not Lappland, Finland?