Santa of the Year


Photo by: Minna Ridderstolpe/


Well, another Santa Winter Games has come and gone. This year’s competition, held every year in Gällivare, Sweden was held the weekend of November 17.

According to , Gällivare is situated 100 kilometers north of the polar circle. They enjoy the Northern Lights in winter and midnight sun in the summer. Gällivare and the local small villages around it boast approximately 20, 000 citizens. They have apparently spent a lot of time measuring out things and the website says, “We have 15,825 square kilometers to move around on.”

Santas from all over the planet meet in Gällivare to vie for the title “Santa of the year”. The Santas spend the weekend doing tasks such as collecting wish lists, playing with kids, radiating Christmas spirit, and preparing for the heavy work of delivering all those presents in just one night.

We have a winner!
The winner this year, according to their website, was “Santa Holland”, the first Santa to win two years in a row. The website says, “The Dutch Santa really did a great job… In second place we have Santa Rainbow from Hong Kong and, in third place we have Santa Aare from Estonia!”

The Fierce Competitors
The best page on the Santa Winter Games 2012 website is the applications from Santas from around the world, signing up to participate. Apparently their answers on a simple application are published right there on the site. Here are some highlights:

Santa from Japan: Special skills? “I am a Mambonsai-master, I decorate bonsai trees with small figures so it looks like a garden.”

Santa from Holland: Tactics? “Being the most jolly, young and athletic Santa. And win everyone over with my charming hohoho smile.”

Sami (indigenous nation of the Nordic countries) Santa: Special skills? “My special skills are the “Santa-dance” and the “Joik” (Samí singing), the natural contact with the children.”

Santa from Spain: Just wants to be there…no mad skills, apparently.

Santa from Estonia: Special skills?  “I am the flying Santa, Moto-paragliding is my specialty.”

Santa from Hong Kong: Tactics? “Bring happiness to Sweden with my magic, balloon twisting and singing. Participate in the games with fair play. The most important thing is that I wanna share love, joy and peace in the hearts of the people and other Santas!”

Special props to me for doing some detective work  and finding out where some of these Santas were from…some don’t mention it but just have a picture of their flag…not so obvious when it’s the Sami flag or, for that matter, I didn’t recognize the Estonian flag

The Grueling Schedule
Apparently, the organizers purposely did not reveal what the competitive events would be this year until close to the date of the event. This was designed to make it “more exciting and harder for the Santas to practice.”

Here’s the events they announced by the deadline:

Event 1: “Reindeer”-ride

Event 2: Porridge-eating

Event 3: Santa-Karaoke

Event 4: Kicksled Sack Race

Event 5: Santas Christmas-eve

Some of these events have the caveat of there being enough snow on the ground…Apparently last year there was not enough snow so they had to make do. There is no report yet (that I could find) about whether there was snow this year but you can read what The Local  published about this year’s event.

Sounds fun, no? I’ll see you 100 kilometers north of the polar circle next year, this time.


  • Monica-USA

    Sounds like a lot more fun there than the type of Santa competitions we have over here. By that I mean fighting for their favorite corner or store front. :o )

  • Kristin Lund

    ha, ha! Happy Thanksgiving, Monica!

    • Monica-USA

      You too, I hope you were able to scrounge up a turkey and some dinner?