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SDG had the honor to meet the mysterious, one and only Mr. Claus; well-known by many for ages, but seen by very few. Being one of the major distributors of many games during the last 30 years we thought an interview with him would be more than appropriate. So we met him at his residence somewhere at the North Pole. 

In advance we had tough negotiations with his management to get permission for this interview. One of the conditions we had to agree to was the wish of Mr. Claus to stay unrecognizable. Taking pictures was not allowed, talking to his assistants or logistic helpers neither. Another condition was that we would be picked up for the interview, blindfolded and forbidden to bring any electronic device which possibly could locate the place we would have this interview.

We agreed. What else could we do?

Santa & us in his famous sledge

So after a long dizzying trip we landed and when our blindfolds were removed we saw we were in a vast snow-white environment, close to a cozy small farm with this typical 18th century looks. As we walked to the front door, it was opened by a small green clothed … yes, what was it? Not a normal man; not a Lilliputian, but more or less a metro-man, but then half the size, with extremely long pointy ears & long blond hair. Weird …

Inside the house we walked down a dim hallway with many doors on both sides. I peeked quickly through a chink of one of them and saw a glimps of what seemed to be a big hall full with computers and little "people". It looked almost like "The Reality". When we entered the living room, we stood face to face with a fierce and healthy looking but yet old man with a big white beard and lots of white hair, lurking on a pipe. For some strange reason his face stayed more or less hidden behind the smoke. Almost like seeing a ghost …

But ghost or not, we settled us at a cozy fireplace. As Mr. Claus and we sipped at a glass of hot glühwein and nibbled on some gingerbread, we started the interview.

Santa ClausDue to his activities Mr. S.C. did not agree to be presented in a recognizable way. However he sent us the day after the interview this digitally manipulated picture, made by his assistant logistics, Rudolf. We forgive him the unauthorized use of our logo.

The interview:

SDG: Mr.Claus. how did you become involved in the gaming sector?

Mr. Claus: Ho ho ho, that is a funny question. I have never been out of it!  Hey kiddie, you are only 59, what do you know of life? I worked already for ages in the gaming industry and still learn every year since then. From the day I received my first little wooden sledge till right now, testing Heartstone!

SDG: … You play computer games???

Mr. Claus: Ha, ha, ha, of course I do. I do not only give away game pc’s, Nintendo’s or PlayStations; We have the latest hardware right here in our test labs. Me and my team test every computer game to the max. We need to know if we deliver quality when we send a present down thru the chimney, like call of Duty Advanced Warfare this year. Quite a relieve after the previous shabby Back Ops releases, by the way. And do you know the latest CSGO map release? They wanted to upgrade and redesign the very first map "Train". But they couldn't wait till we finished testing, so it was distributed with this crazy birdie-bug in it. When we found the bug & warned them it was too late. Lot's of fun for the gamers anyway. And what about Nintendo: they even did not want to release their Mario Kart 8 before we tested & approved it!

SDG: Gosh, Mr. Claus, we are speechless ... how, euh how did this all really started?

Mr. Claus took a firm gulp of his wine. He scratched his beard and he moved his chair a bit closer to the fire. “Centuries ago my family started making wooden toys for the new bro's and sissies in our family.

The Home of Santa

We lived in Norway, inside the Polar Circle. The few villages were small there, with little to do and the nights were long and freezing cold. Which caused in those days that my dear shy mother - she was called "Mamy Blue" for that reason - gave every year birth to a child. By sheer coincidence always in December, by the way. So we ran out of toys quite fast. My dad, a lumberjack by nature - you don’t find them nowadays anymore like that – used to carve small puppets and animals when the days were as dark as the nights and he could not work. After some years he made also small Xmas trees, puppets on a string, little sledges, and so on.”

SDG: that is how the idea of Xmas started?

Mr. Claus: Hm, hm, hm, yes, you might see it that way if you really want to.

SDG: ???

Mr. Claus: Well, well, well, use your brains kiddies. Time was rough then, there were many mouth to feed, less and less people needing wood; that all led to a change of business. My father decided to focus on creating and selling wooden toys and becoming an agent, a sales rep as they call it nowadays. He made the toys in the summertime, when the weather was fine and left home to sell them all over the world when the winter ruled at our home.

SDG: But that is not the story we know!

Mr. Claus: Hi, hi hi, I was just kidding you kiddies! To be honest, the story how it started is a something we do not often like to tell. But the glühwein tastes good, so I will make an exception for you. My father told me when I was young, that he once, working in the forests and chopping Norwegian wood, forget about the time. When he saw the sun going down he realized he had to find a shelter for the night to avoid himself to freeze till death, or to be diner of a wolf. In the shimmery light he searched for a place to be save but he lost his way. Desperately he wandered tru the forest till at midnight he walked past a small cabin, almost without seeing it, so well camouflaged it was. He entered it and, exhausted as he was, fell asleep under an old but warm bearskin on the floor. He woke up just before dawn and shivered, feeling the jitters along his spine. Something was definitely wrong! He looked around in the shimmering light and with a shock he saw in a corner the skeleton of a dwarf, lying upon a basement hatch. At least that was what it appeared to be later.

SDG: Mr. Claus this is not really a nice bedtime story!

Mr. Claus: Ho, ho, you wanted to hear the truth isn’t it? So keep silent and listen! And after pouring in his second glass of glühwein he continued: My father, attracted by the glance of the golden necklet in the hands of the dead dwarf, removed the skeleton and despite his fears he entered the basement. When he came back home that morning, he had a sledge full of golden nuggets instead of wood and that golden necklet around his neck. He called it “my precious” since then. And every year, when the golden nuggets were spent, he disappeared for a day or two and came back with a new load of it!

SDG: So this was the origin of all the wealth your father needed to became the first of many Santa Clauses?

Mr. Claus: "Watch your tongue, kiddies. Our family affairs were not the loveliest ones." He sighed. "There have never been many Santa Clauses. My father’s familybackground was never revealed, but fact is that of the many, many children, I was the only one who inherited his genes. My father and I lived on and on but my dear mother died in the beginning of the 19th century. In memory of her love and devotion we decided to bring some joy and happiness to the people by giving them the toys we made. Year after year I lived and worked closely with him. I even looked slowly more and more like him. We were craftsmen when it came to making toys, so we built an imperium of toy factories. And as my father had his secret source of golden nuggets, we needed not to make money with it. During the ages bro after bro died, some of strange accidents, some of old age. Sister after sister faded away into the past. Sometimes it seemed that the years just covered them slowly by mist and made them disappear. Slowly the suggestion crept into my mind that this creepy golden necklet had something to do with it."

SDG: Mr. Claus, are you suggesting you become older than normal human beings by some dark magic?

A golden flash seemed to light up the room for less than a millisecond. Mr. Claus felt silent and lingered, dwelt a few moments in his own world of thoughts, deep inside his head. Then, slowly returning, he looked us deep in the eyes. Seconds ticked away, and we felt a growing anxiety. For a moment I thought I could see flames reflecting in his eyes.

Suddenly, with an undertone of sadness he continued: “What is age nothing but the coming and going of another year? And then another one, again another one, and so on? But let us continue with the story of my life. It was only for that unfortunate accident in the 20th century, I had to take over the job from my father, aging very slowly he still was strong and healthy enough to travel all over the world. But he reacted not as quickly anymore.

Santa Claus 2014

It was December 26th, 1914. My father was on his way home after a 48 hour non-stop delivery of packages in the USA and Europe. He was already passing France when he saw soldiers of both armies at the frontier near Ypres celebrating Xmas together. Touched by this human behavior during a mankind unworthy and ruthless war he decide to stop and deliver the presents of his spare stock.

They thought he was a Saint and offered him wine and bread. Mr. Claus shook his head and sighed. He always loved red wine too much. It was him who had the red nose they sang about in the sixties and seventies, not Rudolf, his logistic assistant.”

SDG: Rudolf the red nose … rendeer???

Mr. Claus: Forget about that, kiddies. Let’s drink another glass, just come on and come on and raise your glass! His voice left no room for resistance as he looked upon us. We drank and he continued: My father was killed that night. The wine had made him slow and inattentive; a stray bullet decided on his life … and mine. As human stupidity went on again that night, they buried the spirit of Xmas deeper and deeper with every soldier they killed. Due to the close band between my father and me I knew instantly he was dead. And due to the fact Rudolf returned with me father dead in his sledge." Mr. Claus poured in another glass of wine, sighed and remaining silent for a few moments, moving his other hand as if stroking a chain around his neck.

Midnight Strikes

“My job as Santa Claus started that night at 12 o’clock, the moment the sledge returned. Rudolf and I buried my father, not far from here. I will never forget that night. And I never forgive those human beings for killing my dad. Since that moment I am in this business as sole and only responsible towards all those .... people who still believe in him. It is my sworn duty now to spend these golden nuggets and spread all that stuff that people produce and call toys and give it to them as presents and gifts to keep them occupied... whilst in the meantime ... " He remained silent, but seemed to grow bigger, sitting on his chair, ominous as an angry God on his throne.

And since the last 30 years that has become easier and easier. It is all about gaming. Games, games, games. Starting with Super Mario Bros in the eighties and Pokemon in the nineties, it exploded in the zero's: Call of Duty, Minecraft, Grand Theft Auto, Mario Kart, you name it, we delivered it. We bought Microsoft, Apple, Nintendo, Sony, to serve my goal better, but staying out of sight of course. And nowadays? We spent most of the time just on games: Diablo, Battlefield; I even bought all the shares of Valve and Riot Games, who created Counter Strike and League of Legends and we distribute the games for free; just to make sure as many youth as possible play those games. My golden nuggets never fail me. 

An unexpected ending

We felt puzzled and not at ease by the story; but also dizzy & lethargic from the glasses of hot glühwein and the warm fireplace. We did not know what to think, what to believe. Looking at Mr. Claus I saw suddenly that the fireplace tricked my eyes; I could not see his shadow anymore and my sight grew dim. At that very moment Mr. Claus looked intensely to me and said “Kiddies, time to go home. Rudolf will blindfold you and bring you back at once. I have said more than enough.”

When Rudolf brought us to his hi-tech sledge I managed to pull down my blindfold just before we left for take-of, and looking back I thought I saw the glimmering of a golden necklet around the men in red, and a red shining in his eyes, while we disappeared slowly out of sight.

The next morning I woke up at dusk with a serious hangover (I will never drink again glühwein) and found these notes on my iPad. My memory of the interview was blurred and fading away fast, just if someone was erasing my internal memory. I do not know what to make of this story. Do you?

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