No matter how naughty or nice we’ve been this year, there isn’t a kiddy among us who isn’t secretly hoping for a sneaky night-time visit from the fat guy. Fill some time as you count down the sleeps, then, with the Idealog guide to Santa Claus.
Know your Santa: to make sure every little boy and girl has their Christmas wishes heard before the big day, Santa turns to his worldwide army of helpers. But who are they, really? Use our handy guide to see who’s behind that beard.
Arrives by helicopter which no-one remembers seeing, speaks with German accent: Kim Dotcom
Solicits secret Christmas wishes via email, publishes them in explicit detail:Cameron Slater
Orders the demolition of your Red Zone home rather than climb down its chimney: Gerry Brownlee
Invites you to come sit on his knee alone, at night, in a Mission Bay car park:John Palino
Asks if he can sit on your knee instead, jokes about the week’s news instead of asking you what you want for Christmas: Dai Henwood
Refuses to vacate Santa’s throne despite police holding video of him smoking crack with elves: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
Jeepers creepers: New Zealand’s most famous Santa is undoubtedly the giant animated effigy that once sat in front of the Auckland branch of Farmers. Built in 1960, the Farmers Santa weighs more than 4,500kg and is over 18 metres tall. When the store closed in 1990, Santa relocated to the Manukau branch, where he appeared until 1996. Time wasn’t kind to the fibreglass Father Christmas, and he was retired and eventually restored before Whitcoull’s on Queen Street agreed to display him (and foot the bill) from 1998. This wasn’t to last, though, and like some red-suited Lear traveling from one ungrateful daughter to another he finally found his Cordelia in the unlikely form of the Auckland City Council, which agreed to take him in and has funded his Whitcoull’s appearances every Christmas since 2009.
It’s moments like these you need OSH: the Supercity council hasn’t been quite as Santa-friendly as its predecessor. In 2012 it decreed his Orewa version couldn’t be trusted to throw lollies to the children lest one of them cop a Mintie in the eye and fall to the ground screaming and clawing helplessly at the empty, bleeding socket (some details added for emphasis).
School for Santas: being Santa isn’t for amateurs. The (naturally) California-based International University of Santa Claus offers two-day degree courses, a $60 textbook, Behind the Red Suit, and Santa cruises to the North Pole (just because). Along with basics such as dress and demeanour, the course tackled the big issues such as what to say when children don’t believe in Christmas. (You’ll have to invest your own $60 to find that out.)
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