Profession: Santa Claus
Freelance photographer. Lives in Helsinki. Works with New York Times, Esquire, Time, Raymond and Helsingin Sanomat. Has a number of awards in media and design.
Timo Pakkanen is a professional Santa Claus, one of the few in the world. In 2010, he was awarded the Keskuskauppakamari Golden medal for 50 years of his work at this job. However, it is more than a job for Timo. The role is a part of his life. “It is bigger than life” — Timo admitted in his interview for Time.
Here Timo is under water in the swimming hall in Helsinki.
When in sauna Timo uses his official Santa Claus sauna hat.
Every morning for the past ten years Timo, who is 68, comes to the office in central Helsinki early and gets ready for work. It started as a small gig for local Finnish families, but eventually he became the national Father Christmas of Finland.
Timo has visited twelve countries as the goodwill ambassador of Finland. Every year he spends five weeks in Japan as the official Santa Claus of Finnair airline. For the last 13 years Timo has spent Christmas Eve in Japan alone in his hotel room. The evening is celebrated with a can of Ebisu beer and cup of warm sake and playing a card game on his computer in a hotel room.
In 2011, Timo met with children evacuated from Fukushima in the Saitama prefecture of Japan. In this photograph, he is waiting for his performance in the backroom.
The children had doubts that maybe Santa is not coming because he wants to avoid radiation. But Santa came and left the children a note on the blackboard: Santa Claus was here.
Timo drives a red Honda Jazz in Helsinki. On the side of his car it says “Santa Claus is coming to town”.
Timo leads a brotherhood called K.H.P.V. and often meets up with the members for a beer. Timo says that Santa drinks only Christmas beer – but for Santa all beer is Christmas beer.
Timo is often working late.
Timo has a sign in his office window that counts the days until Christmas.
Timo meeting people coming from cruise ships in Helsinki. He often does this during the summer as he works year around.