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Christmas 2006: A Reindeer Rodeo, Open-handed Belgians and Gingerbread …

  • December 14th, 2006
  • Posted by EUEditor

celle-resize.jpgYo-ho-ho … read on …


by Miriam Klaussner

A troupe of forty-seven would-be Santa Clauses created some pre-Christmas confusion in the North German town of Celle (pictured) last week (WB 4.12.06), carrying out an eleven-stage obstacle course to see which one was best equipped for the job – the job with the reindeer, the sack of toys, and all that exertion shinning up and down chimneys.

Those who showed up thinking they might just have to pull on a red coat and a beard had no chance, at the first-ever German Santa Claus Championship, delightfully set in the streets of this medaieval centre.

What were they all up to?

Well, they just took over the pedestrian centre of Celle, with its beautiful timber framed houses, for a set of Christmassey tests, like:

  • Pleasing some kids intent on crying all the time
  • Pulling a sleigh packed with parcels
  • Hand-forging nails for shoie-ing reindeer
  • … and of course, going “ho!!ho!ho!”

Who were they?

There were seven intending lady Santa Clauses with many fine attributes.

One, though, came to grief with the judges, showing off a nice soprano; just not quite the thing for “ho!ho!ho-ing!”.

A robust Northern gentleman called Hinrich did better, summoning up a deep base.

He was one of only a few professionals in the pack, already having had four years’ exprience working in the role … and unlike most of the other competitors, he saw Santa Clausism as a little more than just a bit of fun:

Man muß an den Weihnachtsmann glauben. So einfach so ne rote Jacke anziehen und hohoh Brüllen kann jeder. Diese Rolle muss man fühlen. Und bei mir ist es so, wenn ich das Kostüm anhabe, he boomed. (You have to believe in Santa Claus. I mean everybody can pull on a red jacket and chant hoho. But you really have to feel this role. And if I am wearing this costume…)

Seeing all the get-ups – from trousers made of simple felt, to opulent fur coats, decorated with hand made ornaments and golden buttons – spectators could satisfy their wildest imaginings about the chap with the bell and the belly and all the rest.

Some of the lady competitors admitted to second-thoughts about sporting the long white beard., even if only for the afternoon’s contest, but one of them, Manuela Lenz, claimed a special skill:

Und ich habe gesagt: ich bin im Kindertrösten einfach hervorragend, said Manuela. (Anyway: I always said: I am brilliant when it comes to calming down kids.)

Then there was compeittor Ivan, who put in for the competition while just passing through, and could only speak Ukrainian.

They were a very mixed bunch.

We can report that in the end the winner of the ladies’ section was Manuela, and Germany’s best male Santa Claus is a gentleman called Oliver Denker.

As for Hinrich; how was he feeling as the prizes were handed out?

Hinrich was actually off already amusing a bunch a children.

(Miriam Klaussner can be heard on Deutsche Welle German international radio)


This isn’t news: Christmas is fun, and like many fun things can cost a lot of money.

This year the people of Belgium must be close to winning a championship of their own, for the best spenders.

Their news service, (12.12.06) , is pleased to quote a Deloitte survey showing that each of the country’s 10.7-million inhabitants will spend EU 662 (A$1046.50; Dcerates) on celebrating the special season.

That’s an increase of EU 13 (A$21.87) over last year.

Two-thirds will be for presents, with allocations also for special food and drink, decorations, new clothes, and even special hair styles, just for Christmas.


The Europepan Union has hopped onto the Christmas band-wagon, or band-sleigh, while also celebrating the entry of two new member countries, Bulgaria and Romania, set for New Year’s Day.

In the festivities the organisers unveiled a giant map of the EU made of Christmas gingerbread, three-by-three metres, and, before a live television audience continent-wide, two new pieces were added in.


Enough Christmas stories for 2006.

To all readers of EUAustralia Online, thank you for attention and for feed-back, and compliments of the season.