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Santa pulls Christmas cracker

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17:18 CET+01:00
Christmas has come early this year for Gävle's own Father Christmas as the woman he had been pursuing ever since a chance encounter last Christmas Eve finally agreed to share her future with him.

Daniel Engvall, 38, developed an incurable crush on Malin Ericsson, 31, when he called to her home in Gävle to deliver presents to her two children.

With his own two kids spending the festive season in Stockholm, Daniel found himself at something of a loose end and decided to put an ad in the local paper advertising his services as Santa Claus.

For just 400 kronor ($60), he promised to spread some Christmas cheer to children in the locality.

"A lot of people called. I even had to hire in two more guys to help me," Engvall told The Local.

When Malin Eriksson's then boyfriend took Daniel up on the offer, he could not have known that Malin had already appeared on the prospective Santa's radar some months earlier.

Standing around talking to an old school friend at a village dance, Daniel spotted her on the other side of the dance hall. With the help of his friend he was soon able to note the name of the woman who wore on her arm a tattoo of a lion and a rose.

"Then when I called to that house last Christmas, I caught a glimpse of her tattoo and thought it had to be the same woman," said Engvall.

While first he had been merely smitten, this time he was hooked. Some weeks into the new year, Daniel set about finding a phone number for the delectable Malin Eriksson. He sincerely hoped she had somehow become single in the intervening period.

"But when I sent her a text message at the end of January, she told me she had a boyfriend," said Engvall.

Nothing if not persistent, he gave it another shot one weekend in May. But Malin informed him that she had to go to Stockholm on a work trip. In no time at all, however, a little white lie began to form in Daniel's mind.

"I told her I also had to go to Stockholm and met her on the train," he said.

After several cups of coffee in the capital, followed by a pleasant train ride home, Malin realized she was rethinking her position on the strong-willed Santa.

Now, just a few months on from their Stockholm rendezvous, the couple share a home in Hedesunda, the village where Daniel first set eyes on the blonde with the nice tattoo.

Daniel insisted there were "no hard feelings" between him and Malin's former boyfriend. But asked whether he has any plans to make a few extra kronor this Christmas, he just laughed:

"No way. Malin won't let me be Santa Claus any more," he said.

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