November 21, 2011

Arrthur Christmas Q&A with Steve Claus

Coming to theaters on November 23rd.
Here is a little Q&A with Steve Claus...

Who are you?

Steve Claus.

What’s your connection to Santa?

I’m his eldest son, which means I’m next in line for the role of CEO of North Pole Operations (or, as some of our clients quite charmingly still call him, ‘Santa’.).


Delivery targets. Children.

Your beard is very different to your father’s.

Thanks. It’s a festive goatee, sculpted in the iconic shape of a triple-branched Christmas Tree – our North Pole logo. I grew it during my 2005 rebranding program.  I designed it, like most things up here. 
What invention are you most proud of?

The S-1. Interestingly, I’ve read a few articles describing it as ‘Santa’s mile wide sleighship;. Don’t get me wrong, I’m delighted that father has a connection to it. But I designed the whole thing from scratch, right down to the low-level hand dryers in the elf lavatories.

So theres no place any more for the sleigh pulled by eight reindeer?

Don’t get me wrong, the original delivery craft was a charming, evocative yule-based image, but totally impractical. Times move on.

What’s your job at the North Pole? 

Head of North Pole Operations. Apart from being responsible for the planning of the Christmas mission to deliver two billion gifts in one night. I lead, inspire and motive Santa’s million-strong army of elves. And uphold our core values.

Which are?

Peace, goodwill and functionality at maximum festive efficiency..

What’s your favorite time of year?


Of course. It’s a magical time.

Magical?  Yes of course. But magic doesn’t make the trains run on time you know!  Christmas is a golden opportunity to put into practice my expertise try out my latest technological innovations while servicing our stakeholders.


Delivery targets. Children.

You described them as ‘clients’ earlier.

I did. But a Research and Development working group, led by me, has suggested that ‘stakeholders’ is a more positive term, evoking an investment on both sides.

Right. What do you like least about Christmas?

The frustrating tendency of many of our personnel, including members of my own family, to compromise the job we have to do with sentimental emotion. This is a delivery operation, people. We need to buckle down, not start getting misty-eyed over a glass of eggnog.

What’s your favorite word?





To festivize. It’s a word I coined to describe our mission to deliver to our stakeholders the merchandise requested in their figurehead-directed media.


Take children the presents they asked Santa for. Successfully.

Favorite colour?

The green/red branded camouflage of my tailored one piece uniform.

Favorite possession?

Probably a toss-up between Mission Control, the S-1 and my Ho-Pad.

Don’t those things belong to the whole North Pole?

Well, technically yes. But I designed them. Without my innovation and leadership, this operation might still be a snowy cottage beside a barn full of elves in green tights banging together wooden trains.

That sounds nice and Christmassy!

I don’t think many of our, stakeholders...would jump for joy to get a wooden train and a walnut instead of the Playstation Move Bundle and Justin Bieber singing figure they wrote to Santa about.

Fair point.  But isn’t there a place for the traditional Christmas images we all love – the old sleigh, fairly lights, stockings hung next to a roaring log fire...

Of course design and presentation are a key component of any successful long-term franchise. But tinsel and turkey aren’t an enterprise-wide solution.  And stockings by the fire can be a serious Health and Safety hazard.

Will you talk in the same style when you’re Santa?

Why not? John F Kennedy looked and sounded very different to his predecessors. As did Rupert Murdoch, Steve Jobs and Einstein.

These are people you compare yourself to?

If people want to call me the Bill Gates of Christmas, who am I to stop them?

Favorite song?

‘Simply the Best’ by Tina Turner. This is strictly off the record, but my first act as the new Santa will be to replace ‘Jingle Bells’ with this upbeat anthem. It’ll have a festive edge, obviously. I’m in early talks with Coldplay to score the new version.

Favorite movie?

Wall Street.

Favorite Book?

‘The Art of War’ by Sun Tzu

‘Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation’ by James P Womack and Daniel T Jones

‘Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In’ by Roger Fisher and William Ury

‘Managing the Elf: How to lead, inspire and motivate your pointy-eared workforce.’ by S Claus

How will Christmas change if you become Santa?

If? If?  You mean when, surely.

Sorry, when.

I have a whole raft of proposals which I shall be breaking out on a quarterly basis. First of all, the breaking up of Christmas into four distinctive holidays, spread throughout the year.

You don’t mean there’ll be a Christmas ever three months?

We have a vast delivery capability and yuletidinal task force waiting at the North Pole all year, to deliver to hundreds of millions of children in one night. It doesn’t make sense!

Don’t you spend your time practicing?

Of course. But there are only so many times you can rehearse a computer crash leading to 400,000 Canadian children accidentally getting barbecue meat thermometers for Christmas. I’m talking about having Christmas four times a year – Spring Christmas, Summer Christmas, Autumn Christmas and Christmas Classic (Winter Christmas) Each Christmas will have its own unique flavor Winter Christmas would retain the key iconic components, But Summer Christmas will have a whole other vibe. Kids will hang up a pair of swimming trunks, leave out surf n’ turf for Santa. The presents will be put under a palm tree. This is blue sky thinking.

Any other ideas?

Long-term, I want to take the lead of companies like Apple, Microsoft and Starbucks. I want a North Pole Corporation outlet on every high street, in every mall, n the world. We have an amazing delivery operation. I want to compete with FedEx for regular day-to-day delivery of goods.

Oh and I’ve investigating how we could move in on other holiday franchises like Easter,  Yom Kippur, Mexican Day of the Dead, Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving? But you primarily deliver presents, and a big part of the point of Thanksgiving is that there are no presents.

This is the kind of rigid thinking that I, as Santa, plan to destroy. Why shouldn’t people give presents at Thanksgiving? Put up a tree, sing carols, leave out stockings?

Because that’s Christmas.

Rules are made to be broken. I am the future. You’re with me or against me.

You really aren’t a typical Santa, are you?


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