Sweden beats China to win Santa world cup

Sweden beats China to win Santa world cup
Harmångernissan (left) and Santa Jocke (right) are now Sants world champions. Photo: TT
Two Swedes have claimed the coveted prize of being named best Santas in the world after winning a Santa Claus world cup in Swedish Lapland.

The Santa Winter Games takes place every year in Gällivare, a small town 100km north of the Arctic Circle, and has been held since 2003.

It's serious business for Kris Kringles across the world, with past winners travelling from as far as Colombia, Hong Kong and China. Yet despite the ease of location home competitors failed to win in the first 12 years. 

Thanks to Santa Jocke and his helper Harmångernissen, home fortunes have changed. The Swedish duo beat competition from China, Hong Kong, France and Germany in tasks like dressing the Christmas tree, present wrapping, lasso throwing and a dance-off in order to take top prize.

“It feels really great. It wasn’t at all what we had imagined,” a delighted Harmångernissen told Swedish radio station Sveriges Radio.

Among Santa Jocke’s skills are dancing the jitterbug and playing the piano, while Harmångernissen is a dab hand at the accordion, according to the Santa Winter Games website.

Santa Jim and Santa Johnny, two skilled carol singers from China, placed second, while Santa Kiwi and Santa Apple from Hong Kong came third.

If it wasn't already apparent that the festive season is in full swing in Sweden, the Santa Winter Games took place on the same weekend as 1,500 Santas ran through central Stockholm in the city's annual Santa Run.