For this month’s Engaging Conversation, we scored the hottest interview of the season. Read on to hear Santa Claus get real about overcoming creative blocks, current trends in the gift-giving industry, and his not-so-secret annoyance with one particularly pushy red-nosed reindeer.
Name: Santa Claus
Employer: Santa’s Workshop, LLC
Location: North Pole
What is your job title?
Technically I’m the CCO of Santa’s Workshop. That’s Chief Christmas Officer, for those of you who aren’t elves.
What do you actually do?
Eleven months of the year, pretty much nothing. But when December rolls around, things really start to get interesting. First of all, there’s the overseeing of the manufacturing and safety testing of all the holiday toys for all the good little girls and boys. Then there’s the actual delivery of all the toys on Christmas Eve. I also make a lot of car commercials.
How do you overcome creative blocks?
When I’m really struggling with a problem, I usually try and hand it off to somebody else. Take coal distribution, for example. A few years ago, I was getting really frustrated when trying to figure out which boys and girls deserved coal instead of toys. I thought, is this kind of negativity really in the spirit of Christmas? But Mrs. Claus—she loves handing out the coal. She approaches the task with a gleeful energy that I’ve rarely seen in her. So it works out well for everyone. Except the kids getting the coal…they hate it.
What trends are you seeing in your industry right now?
Maybe this is the eggnog talking, but I can’t help but notice a little bit of a copy-catting trend in the gift-giving industry. The way I see it, all these newfangled online retailers are trying to be the new Santa. There’s the super-fast home delivery, online gift lists, and an aura of invisible holiday mystery surrounding all of it. All people at home have to do is go “click, click, click” and all their gifts arrive, as if by magic. That used to be my thing!
In the next few years, what’s going to change the most in the industry?
I wouldn’t be surprised to see “reindeer delivery” as a shipping option.
Where did you get your best business advice?
Probably Rudolph. For years, he was all: “Can I guide your sleigh tonight? Can I guide your sleigh tonight?” And I was like, no, dummy, your nose is all red and distracting. And then, there was this one really foggy Christmas Eve, and I just had no other choice but to put him in the lead. It worked out great, and now all the reindeers love him. So the business advice I got from that was: keep trying, keep pestering the higher-ups, and eventually you’ll succeed.
Who do you follow on Twitter?
I love to laugh (ho ho ho!) so I follow a lot of comedians.
What’s on your daily must-read list?
I get a lot of letters from small children so that fills up most of my reading time.
If you had a Pinterest-style motivational quote on the wall, what would it say?
You know, the elves spend a lot of time on Pinterest, pinning pictures of socks and toys and whatnot. I think it’s because I don’t let them handle thumbtacks or pushpins in real life (I don’t like the idea of them having tiny weapons). Point is—one of them recently printed me out a Pinterest-style motivational quote. It said something like…“Keep calm and start paying us.”
Fill in the blanks
1) I should have been nicer to Rudolph yesterday.
2) I wish that people would not eat so many of the cookies that are meant for me.
3) The first thing I do when I get to work is sneak up to the elves and whisper “I see you when you’re sleeping.” Freaks ‘em out every time.
Last one… what question would you most like to ask our readers?
The only question that matters: What would you like for Christmas?
We hope you enjoyed this month’s Engaging Conversation with Santa. Tweet him what you’d like for Christmas @SleighGuy, or just let us know in the comments and we’ll pass the info along.