We spoke to Santa and learned about his low carbon footprint; his Christmas wish: that politician’s had a nose like Pinocchio’s; and why this year Christmas is not about the presents, but about the people around the Christmas tree.
The Christmas lights are up, M&S is playing Michael Bublé on repeat and you’ve already eaten through your second box of mince pies. This can mean only one thing: Christmas is around the corner.
2019 has been a banner year for evildoers and assholes, but there’ve been plenty of heroes and do-gooders too. But before we decide which of them deserves their presents, we need to know if they’ve been naughty or nice. We thought we’d ask the one person who would know best: Santa Claus. We rung up Hire Santa, an entertainment agency responsible for sending Father Christmas-es to venues all over the UK, to chat to him.
VICE: Let’s start with Boris Johnson. Has he been naughty or nice?
Santa Claus: Well, it’s a bit of a tricky one with politicians because they don’t seem to know when they are telling the truth or not, and this seems to be a bit of a problem. I think I’d put him on… ah, gosh, um… You see, I better be careful, because if I say the wrong thing I might end up on the naughty list.
Oh, I thought Santa was always on the nice list.
But if I put out there something political, then it’s a bit tricky. Because Santa is not supposed to get involved in politics.
Santa’s verdict: Must remain politically impartial, like the BBC
That’s fine. Can I ask about Greta Thunberg, then?
She’s on the nice list. I am alright with putting people on the nice list. It’s when I put people on the naughty list that people get upset with me if it’s their political persuasion. She’s doing [good things] for the planet , which I am all for, because the ice caps are melting here on the North Pole. It’s not affecting me in the moment, but it certainly may do in the future. I mean, I might have to think about moving.
You seem to be ahead of the game by travelling such a long way with zero CO2 emissions.
The reindeers’ carbon footprint is pretty low, so yes. But there aren’t enough magic flakes to go around, I am afraid.
Santa’s verdict: Nice
What about Kanye?
I am not sure. He is sort of borderline. He’s not one or the other. Even as a little boy, he was a little deluded, I am afraid.
Santa’s verdict: Not naughty or nice, but deluded
Have you heard of Billie Eilish?
Santa’s verdict: Too Gen Z for Santa
What about Jacob Rees-Mogg?
To be fair, I think most politicians are in a lose-lose situation because the UK is so divided. It’s all a bit of a mess. If I was to put a politician on the [naughty] list, it would be David Cameron. Because he brought Brexit about and did not make the vote specific enough.
But maybe it’s the intention that counts? Whether their motivation is self-serving or whether they are trying to do the right thing?
Yes, if only we had a way… [like] when politicians were definitely lying, then their nose grew like Pinocchio’s. That would be a great thing. Then we would know when they are intentionally telling untruths.
Santa’s verdict: David Cameron is naughty
And what about Prince Andrew?
I think we’re going to have to come up with another list for politicians and for people who do things that are very, very silly… we could perhaps do with what I call a “twit list” for people that have made such silly decisions. People that have caused problems and issues for other people.
Do people ever get a second chance? What if someone who has been naughty does something very nice? Could they make up for it that way?
Oh, yes! When you end up on the naughty list, there is always that potential to get back on the nice list. If you’re nice to someone, that makes them happy, which makes them be nice to someone else. So if you do something nice, it multiplies and multiplies and multiplies. I think people have forgotten how to be nice. A lot of people will do something only if there is something in it for them. But just a kind word to someone or a hug... Not everything is about the material things in life. It’s about being generous and kind. If you can be kind and spread it, then it brings out the best in people.
Santa’s verdict: Not naughty or nice, but a twit.
Is Meghan naughty or nice?
Meghan Markle is on the nice list. She’s trying her best. I think she’s got herself into a bit of a situation, where life is more difficult than she anticipated with all the royal duties.
Santa’s verdict: Nice.
How about Ronaldo?
I am not into football, I am afraid. We’ve got the North Pole Rangers and that’s about it.
Santa’s verdict: Needs to check his records
Thank you, Santa. Is there any advice you want to give to people how to make this time of year extra special?
Well, the most important thing about Christmas is: it’s not about what’s underneath the Christmas tree, it’s who’s around the tree. That makes Christmas special.