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Santa Claus

Things you only know if you're a Santa Claus

...according to Santa Jim

By Time Out Hong Kong
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Sitting on Santa's lap and asking for the presents you want is a childhood memory many of us share. And with this magical festive season just around the corner, we thought it's be only fitting to find out what it takes to be a professional Santa Claus, from none other than Hong kong's first-ever Santa Claus himself. By Emily Chou, translated by Angel Hong.

No qualifications required

“Being a Santa Claus doesn’t require any qualifications. I was previously a magician and have been very passionate about magic since childhood. I once played a villain called 'Super Robot' on a children’s TV program on Radio Television Hong Kong. The left hand of the character was a robotic hand, but the props at that time were really temperamental, so after that I started making my own props. There was also a time I played Santa Claus in a Christmas magic show. Without performing any magic, the children swarmed around me because of who (they thought) I was! Seeing how Santa Claus can bring happiness to everyone, coupled with my experience in handling props and interacting with audiences as a performer, I decided to become a professional Santa and make it a major part of my career.”

Being a recognised Santa Claus is difficult

“Being a publicly recognised Santa Claus is not as easy as it might sound. I wasn’t known as Santa Claus until I participated in the International Santa Claus Competition, held in Sweden in 2009. Surmounting all challenges, including chimney climbing, sleigh riding and gift wrapping, I ultimately beat out the competition to become the first champion from Hong Kong. When I was a magician I used to carry around balloons. Playing the same old trick, I can easily make children smile, and I guess this is the reason I won the competition.”

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Personality is key

“Everyone can play Santa Claus, but it’s not easy to be a professional one. Without a loving heart, you won’t be able to bring joy to everyone sincerely. For me, I love this job to the extent that I insist on making my own costume in order to present the best Santa to the crowd.”

Santa Claus is not always happy

“Though bringing happiness to people is my job, it doesn’t mean that I’m always a joyful person. My beloved partner Santa Johnny suddenly died of heart disease last year. He was not just my colleague but also my best friend. Seeing as the Santa Clauses we have in Hong Kong nowadays are less qualified, we founded a Santa Claus academy together to offer professional Santa training in hopes to train up the Santas of the future and to improve the overall quality of the industry. Although I’m deeply saddened, I’ll still keep moving forward to achieve our goals.”

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