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Santa Claus Congress Opens in Denmark


The Christmas holiday is five months away. But people from all over the world are meeting this week to prepare for Christmas celebrations. They are attending the World Santa Claus Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The congress is designed for people who enjoy playing Santa Claus during the holiday season. Some may have a part-time job working as Santa in a large store or shopping center. Others are sometimes asked to join in seasonal parades or other events.

Santa Claus is the make-believe person who brings gifts to children on the night before Christmas. In some cultures, he is known as Father Christmas or Saint Nicholas.

This week, more than 120 Santas from 15 countries have gathered in Copenhagen for a three-day meeting. They are preparing for the holiday season and discussing a number of issues.

A man calling himself Santa Douglas is from Washington, D.C. He thinks the Santas should urge people to make healthier food choices this year.

"I think this year we need to talk about Santa maybe having a few less cookies. The chimneys are a little bit smaller now and 15 and 20 cookies is a few too many. Maybe 12."

Santa Stan Miller traveled to Denmark from the U.S. state of Alabama.

"It's an international event. Santas come from all over the world to gather here in Denmark, enjoy beautiful Copenhagen, the warmth of your people and to share and exchange information and ideas about how to make the world a better place to live for everyone. That is what being Santa Claus is all about."

The World Santa Claus Congress has taken place every summer in Denmark since 1957. This year, many of the Santas paraded through the center of Copenhagen. They also visited the city’s famous statue of the Little Mermaid, a character from the well-known children's story.

Other events include Christmas cake baking demonstrations and storytelling for children. The Congress also is an opportunity for the delegates to meet with other Santas and socialize.

Santa Paradis Yamamoto is from Tokyo, Japan.

"At the meeting we're going to discuss which presents to give this year. We'll also talk about where to buy the best chocolate in Denmark and where to eat the best fish in Copenhagen."

The 2015 World Santa Congress ends on Wednesday.

"Ho, ho, ho. Merry, merry Christmas! Bye, bye. Sayonara!"

I’m Jonathan Evans.

VOA’s Zlatica Hoke reported on this story. Jonathan Evans adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in this Story

chimney(s) – n. a tall narrow opening at the top of a building through which smoke rises

character – n. a person in a play or story

socialize – v. to talk to and do things with other people in a friendly way

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