• Sweden's news in English
 

Santas for hire keep kids believing

Published: 24 Dec 2012 12:30 GMT+01:00

Susanne runs a Santa rental service in Uppsala, Sweden called Tomteservice, meaning Santa service.

This is the third year in a row that Susanne and her helpers deliver gifts to families around the city. She gets more requests than she can handle - from Uppsala and beyond.

The Local caught up with Susanne in-between home visits on Christmas Eve, which is when Swedish families traditionally open their presents.

"We have between 30 and 40 visits booked in today," explains Susanne who wants to keep her last name secret.

"I have an unusual name and I don't want any of the kids to find out it was me and not the real Santa who delivered their gifts today."

Susanne got the idea to set up Tomteservice when she dressed up as Santa and delivered presents to friends' kids.

"That was three years ago. Those kids still don't know that it's me who comes every Christmas."

She says there are two reasons why her Santa rental service has become popular.

"First, kids are smart. They know when it's an uncle or a neighbour who's dressed in disguise, but when it's a complete stranger they get surprised and a bit confused."

Also, many families simply don't have a social network that they can tap into to find Santas, adds Susanne.

"We visit many families where it's just mum, dad, one or two kids and no grandparents. There are also families with foreign backgrounds that do not have relatives here in Sweden."

Renting a Santa costs between 300 and 600 Swedish kronor ($45 - 90) depending on what time of day you want him to knock on your door. (Tomteservice doesn't do chimneys!)

Santa prime time is between 4 and 5pm, after the TV screening of the 1958 Disney Christmas special, known in Sweden as Kalle Anka och hans vänner önskar god jul ("Donald Duck and his friends wish you a merry Christmas").

Millions of Swedes tune in to watch the show every year at 3pm on Christmas Eve.

So what have the reactions been so far today?

"Some small children get scared. But older ones are a bit sceptical."

"You know, 10-year-olds really don't want to admit that they believe in Santa Claus, but then they think it's very strange when someone they don't recognize, a complete stranger, shows up. They get confused."

"But most kids are so focused on the presents that they just stare at the packages when I take them out of my sack and then they just stand there completely dumbfounded," says Susanne.

In order to make the experience as credible as possible for the kids Susanne and her colleagues pay great attention to detail when it comes to their costumes.

"There is this stereotypical image of what Santa looks like. He's supposed to be round and red-cheeked. So we copy that and every year we've improved our look."

"We have had special Santa costumes made which we stuff with pillows. We paint our cheeks red with rouge. We carry lanterns and wear black boots, black belts and wigs with long, grey curls. And I've ordered beards made out of real wool for next year so we'll look even more real then."

Susanne hires six Santas - three men and three women.

"Some take a break from their own celebrations to deliver presents. Others are new in town and don't have much of a social network. They tell me it's fun to get to make other people happy at Christmas."

The Local/nr Follow The Local on Twitter

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

19:20 December 24, 2012 by Swedentalk
I've heard more Swedes open on Christmas day now.
22:27 December 25, 2012 by stigskog
Lying to kids about a Hypersonic Marxist ... whatever next..... how about a Magical Jewish Zombie !
Today's headlines
Sweden's Ericsson sues Apple in patent spat
Photo: TT

Sweden's Ericsson sues Apple in patent spat

Swedish telecoms group Ericsson announced Friday a lawsuit against US tech giant Apple claiming that its technology was used in iPhones and other wireless devices despite a lapsed licencing agreement. READ  

IN PICTURES: Swedes in 'ring of peace' protest
Photo: TT

IN PICTURES: Swedes in 'ring of peace' protest

Up to a 1000 Swedes turned out to form a human shield around Stockholm's synagogue on Friday as a protest against extremism. Here are some images from the event. READ  

Swedes in 'ring of peace' synagogue protest
Photo: TT

Swedes in 'ring of peace' synagogue protest

A human shield of up to a 1000 Swedes staged a protest against extremism outside the Stockholm synagogue Friday in response to the Copenhagen shootings earlier this month in which two people died. READ  

Swedes to form 'ring of peace' at synagogue
A ring of peace around a synagogue in Oslo. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen/NTB scanpix/TT

Swedes to form 'ring of peace' at synagogue

UPDATED: Hundreds of young Swedes were set to form a 'ring of peace' around a synagogue in Stockholm on Friday afternoon, in a show of solidarity two weeks after Jews were among those targeted in a pair of deadly shootings in Copenhagen. READ  

Sweden raps 'brutal' Assyrian abductions
Assyrians citizens during a sit-in for abducted Christians in Beirut, Lebanon on Thursday. Photo: TT

Sweden raps 'brutal' Assyrian abductions

Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallström has slammed the abduction of Christians in Syria earlier this week and pledged to keep supporting communities affected by the ongoing fighting in the Middle East. READ  

Escalator return stalled in Swedish capital
Commuters using some of the stationary escalators in Stockholm. Photo: TT

Escalator return stalled in Swedish capital

Commuters in Stockholm are set for more frustration next week, with 39 escalators set to remain switched off at some of the city's busiest underground stations, following an accident a fortnight ago. READ  

Copenhagen shootings
Third arrest over fatal Danish terror shootings
The window of the Copenhagen cultural centre where one man was shot. Photo: TT

Third arrest over fatal Danish terror shootings

A man has been arrested for "complicity" in the Copenhagen shootings that killed two people earlier this month, with the Swedish artist Lars Vilks among the presumed targets of the attacks. READ  

Swedish firm to fund huge Danish wind project
Vattenfall's Stockholm office. Photo: TT

Swedish firm to fund huge Danish wind project

A massive new offshore wind farm off the west coast of Denmark is being built by the state-owned Swedish company Vattenfall, it has emerged. READ  

Copenhagen shootings
Sweden artist talk halted after Denmark attacks
Swedish artist Lars Vilks. Photo: TT

Sweden artist talk halted after Denmark attacks

A planned lecture at Sweden's Karlstad University by the controversial Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, the presumed target of the terror attack at a cultural event in Copenhagen earlier this month, has been scrapped by organisers. READ  

Surprise growth spurt for Sweden's economy
Sweden's economy is growing faster than expected. Photo: TT

Surprise growth spurt for Sweden's economy

Sweden's economy grew more than expected at the end of last year, with GDP rising by 1.1 percent between the third and fourth quarter, according to new figures from Statistics Sweden. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Super cute sloth twins charm visitors to Swedish zoo
Lifestyle
Meet Sweden's first woman chef to win a Michelin star
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: February 26th - March 5th
Accelerated for Ice Music
What is Bob Dylan's guitarist doing in northern Sweden?
Features
How well do you know Sweden's top celebrity couples?
Blog updates

27 February

Editor’s blog, February 27th (The Local Sweden) »

"Our most read story this week got picked up by global media from Al Jazeera to..." READ »

 

18 February

The mysterious -s, part 2 (The Swedish Teacher) »

"-s expressing “each other” (reciprocal verbs) You have most likely used this form of the verbs..." READ »

 
 
 
Business & Money
Are company boards 'too white' in Sweden?
Sponsored Article
Ten tips for succeeding as a start-up in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: February 25th
Technology
Sweden is dubbed second most 'digital' nation in European Union
National
Why more Swedes want a sex change
National
The return of Sweden's Ace of Base
National
Why has Julian Assange's case been going on for so long?
National
'21' or 'IS'? Swedish police confuse birthday with Islamist extremism
National
Spring has sprung in Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Ängelholm
National
How to never miss your favourite weekly features on The Local
Business & Money
Ten Swedish start-ups you haven't heard of (yet)
National
Is Sweden home to the world's oldest living cat?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The life and career of Fredrik Reinfeldt
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Princess Estelle through the years
National
Why are Swedish Jews worried?
Sponsored Article
Tourist or lifer: what sort of expat are you?
Gallery
People-watching: February 19th-22nd
National
'Racist' bird names banned in Sweden
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden this week
National
Nobel prize to go under hammer
National
Swede named 'Fanny' banned from getting UK loyalty card
National
Spotlight on the Swedes that could be funding Islamists
Sponsored Article
Are you an American expat? How to face FATCA
Gallery
People-watching: February 18th
National
Is a chocolate crime wave sweeping across Sweden?
National
What we know about the Copenhagen shootings suspect
National
Danish Ambassador: 'We'll live our lives the way we always have'
National
What does this '90s pop act have to do with a former minister?
Lifestyle
How to embrace Sweden's creamy semla bun tradition
National
Did this Swedish hotel really refuse a gay couple?
National
Why are so many escalators down on Stockholm's Metro?
Gallery
Property of the week: Kungsbacka
National
Can Zlatan's tattoo stunt help end world hunger?
Gallery
People-watching: February 14th
Lars Vilks
National
Who exactly is controversial Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks?
Lifestyle
VIDEO: How to tackle Sweden's bizarre mating rituals
Sponsored Article
'Immigration is critical' for Stockholm’s future
Lifestyle
How to make traditional Swedish blackberry pie
National
What the weak krona means for expats and visitors to Sweden
National
What's in a Swedish meatball?
National
Spotlight on 32 Swedish Isis fighters killed in Syria and Iraq
Sponsored Article
Stockholm job fair helps immigrant entrepreneurs
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

1,007
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se