Blog post header image showing photo of Father Christmas outdoors in a snowy landscape. Posted by Charlotte Whitehead, Career Coach at Career Practic.

Father Christmas Interview

Father Christmas talks about the Queen, global warming, going to Mars, and how his strengths help him in his work

It’s been two years since my last interview with Father Christmas and I’m delighted to say that we managed to catch up again just in the last week, in spite of the hectic run-up to the festive season. A lot has happened in the last couple of years – not all of it good – but Father Christmas’s positive outlook is an example to us all, and of course we had some further stimulating discussion about strengths.

Charlotte Whitehead: Father Christmas, it’s SO nice to catch up with you again. Thank you for taking the time out to meet with me.

Father Christmas: Charlotte, it’s lovely to see you again too. I can’t quite believe that it’s been two years but the older I get – and as you know, I am already very old – the faster and faster time seems to go.

CW: Yes, tell me about it! But at least it means we’re having a full life!

FC:  Yes, indeed.

CW: So, Father Christmas, let’s dive in. There’s been all sorts of rather depressing stuff happening over the last two years. How have you and your Elves been dealing with it?

“Our strengths of character can help us get through adversity”

Father Christmas

FC: Well, I do agree, there have been – and continue to be – some very tough times down there on Earth. But one of the things that I’ve been reflecting on a lot this year is how our strengths of character can help us get through adversity. In fact, it was your post about this that got me thinking about it.

CW: Really?! How lovely to hear! I didn’t realise anyone ever read any of my posts let alone those of you in the celestial spheres!

FC: Well, yes, they do. And I’ve always been a fan of Captain Pugwash so I rather liked the image you used at the top of the post. It made me chuckle. Ho! Ho! Ho! But what struck me was that I could see in myself some of those strengths of character that you mentioned.

CW: How interesting! Which ones?

FC: Well, it sounds a bit arrogant to say that one sees Kindness in oneself because – when one thinks about it – Kindness (like beauty) is in the eye of the beholder. But I do think that being kind to people and helping them is one of the core values that drives me in my work, and of course Love is another one, along with Humour, Creativity and Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence. But what I really liked when I looked into Character Strengths a bit more, was the idea that each of these strengths is a pathway to developing one of the six virtues [ed.: Wisdom, Humanity, Courage, Justice/Citizenship, Temperance and Transcendence]. So if we become a bit more mindful about when we’re using them and how we’re using them, bit by bit we will become wiser, or more humane, or courageous etc. It’s such an interesting concept and one that really got me thinking!

CW: Yes, I’ve always found character strengths fascinating too.

FC: And to return to your question about how to deal with all the depressing stuff that’s been going on, I think that the PROWess model you described was really helpful. Now, when I’m feeling a bit rushed off my feet, I take a moment to stop and think about which character strengths I could tap into to help me deal with the situation. I especially like the ones that develop transcendence such as Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence, Gratitude, Hope, Humour, and Spiritually. Those are strengths that really help me to get centred and keep moving in the right direction.

“When I’m feeling a bit rushed off my feet, I take a moment to stop and think about which character strengths I could tap into to help me deal with the situation.”

Father Christmas

CW: It’s interesting to hear you say that. I’ve found that too. Appreciation of Beauty isn’t one of my dominant strengths of character but I do try to nourish it by getting out for walks in nature whenever I can. In fact, I don’t know whether you ever read Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl but one of the things that struck me in that book was how the people who survived the concentration camps seemed to be the ones who could tap into their strengths of Hope and Appreciation of Beauty and Humour in spite of the horrendous things that were happening all around them. Did you ever read it?

FC: No, I’m afraid I didn’t. But I can see how that might have been the case. In fact, I presume that all the strengths of character would help one get through an experience like that one way or another, not least because everything else has been stripped away from one. Teamwork, Bravery, Perspective, Perseverance… all those core qualities would help one cope & survive.

CW: Yes, for sure. Well maybe we could shift our focus now to some brighter things. What’s been a highlight for you in the last two years?

“We like a good party!”

Father Christmas on the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

FC: Well, I have to say I did enjoy the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. In fact, we all did. We like a good party and the Queen’s 70 years of service was certainly something to celebrate. One of the things I LOVED was that extraordinary photo of her standing between those two gigantic white Clydesdale stallions. Between you and me, they weren’t actually Earth horses. They were celestial horses that had come down to give her a taste of what ‘life’ might be once she got to heaven. Just occasionally, we see her frolicking with them in the heavens and riding at lightening speed over the cumulus clouds. Our reindeer get a bit skittish whenever they see them out and about! 

CW: Gosh, I can just imagine! But I think you’re right, a lot of people did enjoy the Platinum Jubilee. In many respects, it generated a sense of community spirit that spread far beyond the UK, although of course there are those who aren’t so keen on royalty as an institution and would disagree. But mostly I think people respected the Queen for her unwavering commitment to duty and how she conducted herself during her long reign.

FC: Yes, it would be hard not to.

“I’m a bit concerned about global warming.”

Father Christmas on the future for humanity

CW: Father Christmas, I’d be really interested to hear whether you have any thoughts about the future and where we’re all heading?

FC: Well, yes, I have been thinking about this a bit. Two things: global warming and Elon Musk’s plans for getting humanity to Mars. To be honest, I’m a bit concerned about both of those.

CW: Why’s that?

FC: Well, global warming is melting all the ice, isn’t it? So we’re all wondering how it’s going to affect Christmas in the future. I mean, Christmas isn’t Christmas without a bit of ice and snow. Not to mention that we rely on sleighs to get around and we may have to find an alternative mode of transport which might put all our reindeer out of work. And as for Mars, well, it’s a heck of a way to get to! My Chief Elf and I were watching a programme about Elon Musk on telly a few weeks ago and I said to Elfis (that’s my Chief Elf): “How on earth are we going to deliver presents to humans on Mars?” And he said: “Well, for a start, they’re aren’t going to be on Earth, are they?” which was a shrewd point to make. You won’t be surprised to hear he has Analytical in his top five CliftonStrengths®. Fortunately, he also has Futuristic as one of his top strengths as well so he immediately started talking about all the possibilities that life on Mars might bring humanity, and he has Ideation and Restorative so he was able to come up with loads of creative ideas of how we might get there and back, and how to overcome some of the challenges (like feeding the reindeer and finding places to rest en route, etc.). 

CW: That’s so interesting to hear. I remember last time we spoke, you had only got your top five CliftonStrengths® report. Did you get around to upgrading to the full 34?

FC: Yes, I did! I meant to drop you a line to let you know! My memory isn’t what it used to be, I’m afraid.

CW: That’s okay. What did you discover in your top ten?

FC: Well, you were absolutely right. I do have Individualisation and Maximiser (at #6 and #7 respectively) and I also have Includer (#8), Connectedness (no. 9) and Intellection #10. I see all of them shining through in my work and relationships. 

CW: Gosh, I’d so love to talk to you more about that at some point. You’ve got a fabulous combination of strengths and, interestingly, they’re spread across all four domains [ed.: Relationship Building, Influencing, Executing, Strategic Thinking].  Unfortunately, we’re running out of time now as I know you’ve got loads to get on with. Perhaps we could meet again in another year or two and pick up on this then if you have time? 

FC: Yes, I’d love to do that. It’s always delightful to have a chat. And I do like a cup of Earl Grey with a dark chocolate Hob Nob, so thank you ever so much for going to the trouble to offer me those.

CW: It’s my pleasure, Father Christmas, and the least I could do given everything that you do for all of us. I’ll make sure there are plenty of dark chocolate Hob Nobs in the cupboard over Christmas so that if you need to grab one while you’re on the move, you can. You know where they are, don’t you?

FC: Yes, I certainly do. In fact, I’d already clocked that you’d bought a new biscuit tin! Ho! Ho! Ho! 

CW: Oh, you are a one! 😉 Well, it’s been absolutely lovely talking with you, Father Christmas. I look forward very much to catching up again in due course. 

FC: Likewise. Merry Christmas to you! And Jingly-O! Ho! Ho! Ho!

CW: And to you!

Would you like to learn about your strengths? If so, get in touch to arrange an initial discussion. And if you’d like to find out what Father Christmas’s top five CliftonStrengths are, you can do so here.

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