Like many of you, Santa Claus is a ULC minister. Yes, you read that right.
Back in 2012, a New York man legally changed his name to Santa Claus (it’s on his drivers license and everything). He has since taken on the persona wholeheartedly, and even got ordained with the Universal Life Church in order to perform weddings as Santa!
We reached out to chat with Mr. Claus to learn what it’s like being the real Santa, as well as an ordained minister. A transcription of our conversation is included below.
ULC: Do you get phone calls from children around Christmas?
Santa Claus: Kids tend to get a hold of my phone number in one way or the other, so I’ll often get calls from them this time of year. Sometimes parents will call and put the kids on, sometimes the kids will find my number and sneak off to call me on their own.
I’ve even been called at two o’clock in the morning by kids hoping to speak with Santa Claus! “My mom is asleep, can we talk?” they’ll ask. Things like that pop up, amazingly, when I’m in a bad mood. And now I’m transformed into a good mood. Somebody is watching out for me, I’ll tell ya.
When kids ask you what the North Pole is like, what do you tell them?
Well all they know is what they’ve seen on TV. With today’s technology like Google Earth, they’d be able to find it if it was out in the open. So I explain that I live in a domed city underneath the Artic Ocean. The only way to get down there is create a polar vortex – a sort of funnel – which allows the dome to open and for us to fly in and out.
How did you first get into officiating weddings?
Well the original Saint Nicholas was a judge, and he was able to perform weddings. I thought to really embrace the transformation to Santa Claus, I should do the same. Friends of mine had also been asking me to perform weddings as Santa Claus, so I decided to get qualified to do that legally. I’ve now performed at least 12 weddings as Santa, if not more.
What does a Santa Claus wedding look like?
I joke around a little bit, but I try to keep it mostly serious. I don’t play up the Santa Claus thing during the ceremony, other than the outfit I wear. It’s too serious of an occasion. And parents are sometimes skeptical. They say: “Wait, you’re getting married by Santa Claus?” So I treat the responsibility seriously.
Do you have a favorite or a most memorable ceremony you’ve performed?
One wedding I performed, the couple told me at the last minute that they couldn’t come up with their own vows. So I quickly looked to find a set of vows in the books I had, and I just happened to find one that was like Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham. “Would you love me in a tree? Would you love me out at sea?” It was pretty good. Everyone seemed to love it.
Has the pandemic changed the way you operate? How are you handling things now?
I typically do a lot of bigger gatherings and events this time of year, and obviously that has changed because most of those have been cancelled. So instead I’m doing smaller gatherings and taking proper precautions – taking temperatures, wearing masks, using lots of sanitizer. But this has allowed me to spend more time talking with kids this year, which has been a real positive.