Sammy Nickalls
October 05, 2015 11:35 am

It might only be the beginning of October, but we’ve already got the most Christmas-y story for you. A guy whose actual, real, LEGAL name is Santa Claus is running for office in the North Pole. And the world is amazing.

OK, let’s start from the beginning. Santa, 68, is not originally from North Pole, Alaska, and was not born as Santa Claus. (We’d have some serious questions about his parents’ expectations of him if he was.) Formerly known as Tom O’Connor, he decided to get his name changed on the grounds that he looks EXACTLY LIKE SANTA CLAUS.

Seriously:

Back in 2005, the Anglican monk was walking to the post office and internally debating whether or not to change his name to Santa Claus, when his rosy cheeks and big white beard prompted someone in a passing car to yell at him, “I love you, Santa!” That was enough for him! He changed his name and Tom O’Connor was no more. “I don’t answer to that at all anymore,” Santa told Alaska Dispatch News in 2013.

But this whole name change thing wasn’t all for Christmas-y fun. In fact, being the benevolent guy that he is, Santa wants to use his name to enact change. His background in public safety work (he worked as a New York police official for a while) made him realize how many children “fall through the cracks” when their parents are dealing with huge personal issues, he explained to Alaska Dispatch News. So, after running two write-in presidential campaigns, he decided to move to North Pole, Alaska, and try his luck there. In 2013, he became president of the North Pole Chamber of Commerce.

“I use my name as sort of a mechanism for prompting state and federal officials to co-sign or sign legislation that has a positive effect on children’s health, safety and welfare,” he told Alaska Dispatch News, adding that he’s gained a lot of media attention and access to legislators he wouldn’t have previously been granted.

Now, Santa is one of two candidates running for city council in North Pole, reports The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. He is so far uncontested and his win would be pretty epic.

The Daily Intelligencer also notes, that Santa’s other passions seem to be decommercializing Christmas and advocating for medical marijuana. Diverse interests, this Claus!

Either way, Santa wants to be a role model and wishes to emulate the qualities of St. Nicholas. “Love is the greatest gift one can give, not presents,” he told Alaska Dispatch News.

So yes, Santa Claus is real, you guys. And we’ve got the city council candidate to prove it. Just don’t expect him to be in office the week before Christmas; he and the elves will have way too much work to do.

Related reading: 

A little theory about Santa Claus

In a German town, Santa Claus is being replaced by a sleigh-driving teen girl  

(Image via Twitter)

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