• Sweden's news in English
 
Santas for hire keep kids believing

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
Löfven launches Swedish 'American Dream'
Photo: TT

Löfven launches Swedish 'American Dream'

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven used his Christmas speech on Saturday to launch his idea of the "Swedish Promise", an equivalent to the more familiar "American Dream". READ  

Hoho: Estelle records cute Christmas message
Princess Estelle pictured in her 2014 Christmas jumper. Photo: Kate Gabor/royalcourt.se

Hoho: Estelle records cute Christmas message

Video: Sweden's little Princess Estelle has got into the spirit of Christmas by recording a special message together with her parents. READ  

Swedes over-estimate English abilities: expert
BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg suffers a linguistic let-down at The White House in 2010. File photo: TT

Swedes over-estimate English abilities: expert

Swedes enjoy a high level of self-confidence with regard to their English abilities, a new survey has shown, although one expert has questioned whether this belief is misplaced. READ  

Sweden seeks ban on foreign booze advertising
File photo: Shutterstock.

Sweden seeks ban on foreign booze advertising

Two powerful Swedish lobby groups have turned to the European Commission to try and get a complete ban on alcohol advertising on television, after it emerged some channels were dodging the ban by being registered abroad. READ  

Minecraft creator beats Beyonce in mansion bid
Markus Persson created hit game Minecraft. Photo: TT

Minecraft creator beats Beyonce in mansion bid

UPDATED: Swedish billionaire Markus Persson is reported to have outbid the likes of Jay-Z and Beyonce with his half billion kronor offer ($70 million) for a 2,000-square-metre Beverly Hills mansion. READ  

Accelerated for Ice Music
Ice Music taps Texas troubadour for new tunes
A scene from a 2014 Ice Music concert in Luleå. Photo: Graeme Richardson/Swedish Lapland

Ice Music taps Texas troubadour for new tunes

The world's "coolest concert" is set for a Texas twist in 2015 when Luleå's innovative Ice Music welcomes American musical talent from Austin, home of the South By Southwest (SXSW) music festival. READ  

Second baby on the way for Princess Madeleine
Princess Madeleine at the previous Nobel banquet. Photo: TT

Second baby on the way for Princess Madeleine

UPDATED: Sweden's Royal Court has announced that Princess Madeleine is pregnant with the second child of her financier husband Chris O'Neill. READ  

Video
Video: The best & worst of Swedish Christmas
Tom says he is a big fan of the food. Photo: The Local

Video: The best & worst of Swedish Christmas

What's the best thing about Christmas in Sweden? The worst? And perhaps most importantly, the tastiest? The Local's Paul O'Mahony hits the Old Town's Christmas market as the first snow of the season falls to find out more. READ  

Swedish 'butcher' murderer gets 16 years
Forensic experts examine the scene where the victim's body was dumped in Askersund. Photo: Pavel Koubek/TT

Swedish 'butcher' murderer gets 16 years

A Swedish woman who killed and then hacked up a female love rival has been sentenced to 16 years in prison and also ordered to pay damages to the victim's family. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: December 18th to 25th
National
'Unprecedented' Russian activity: Armed Forces
Society
Interview: The Local chats with Melinda Gates
Society
VIDEO: Stockholmers try out some Swedish tongue twisters
Society
Eight things to do when it gets dark in Umeå
Blog updates

19 December

-t or no -t? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! There are many things in the Swedish language that can give you a grey hair or two,..." READ »

 

19 December

Editor’s Blog, December 19th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, Father Time has taken another week from us, but never fear – good old Father..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Inside Sweden's first 'light therapy' school
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: December 17th
Estelle through the years
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Society
Why are there so many 100-year-olds in one Swedish town?
Society
Is it time to better celebrate Sweden's diverse identity?
Gallery
Property of the week: Huddinge
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
National
CATCH UP: Russian plane in Baltic near-miss drama
Lifestyle
How my compass drew me to Sweden
National
The man whose memory you need to remember
Gallery
People-watching: December 13th - 14th
Sponsored Article
How to get your own office anywhere in the world
Politics
'Our party will stand alone': Stefan Löfven
Society
The Local chats to Ruben Östlund, director of Golden Globe nominated Force Majeure
Lifestyle
Ten things to know before a Swedish party
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: December 12th to 19th
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The 2014 Nobel Banquet
National
The Local's guide to the Nobel Prizes 2014
Education
Introducing... Education in Stockholm
Society
The Swedish Christmas market with a twist
Lifestyle
Why do so many Swedes have tattoos?
Society
Get 20% off Swedish Christmas decorations
National
Dewani family: We only heard half the story
Business & Money
Business in Stockholm: 'efficiency is money'
Gallery
Property of the week: Östermalm
National
Meet the Swedes hosting festive feasts for 'lonely' guests
Gallery
TIMELINE: Swedish honeymoon killing murder trial
Gallery
People-watching: December 7th
Gallery
IN PICTURES: What's it like to fly planes in Sweden?
National
Submarine hunters 'robbed' of reward cash
National
The Local's Countdown to Christmas
National
'Dangerous' USB charger recalled in Sweden
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's King and Queen wrap up France tour
National
Analysis: Should Snowden get asylum in Sweden?
National
Swedish schoolboy in female saint role row
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's political crisis unfolds
Gallery
People-watching: December 3rd
National
What happened to Sweden's ice bucket cash?
Lifestyle
Top Swedish songs of the month
Sponsored Article
SIS: the thinking behind globalised learning
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Family life in Stockholm
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

825
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
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Counselling and Psychotherapy in English
Sometimes living in another culture can cause stress, confusion and feelings of sadness and loneliness. Talking to a professional psychotherapist/counsellor might help you. I am a UKCP Reg. psychotherapist. My practice is in Södermalm, Stockholm.
Contact me to discuss your options