Santa Chen —   

A day in the life of Berlin’s boss santa
(during a pandemic)

Santa Chen —  2020
A day in the life of Berlin’s boss santa
(during a pandemic)

Mr. Hu-Ping Chen is 74 years old and has held many occupations before his recent retirement.
His most enduring (and endearing) role however, is one that he puts on only once a year.For social organisations, private families and schools, Hu-Ping Chen is ‘der Weihnachtsmann’.
Hu-Ping was born and raised in Berlin to a Chinese father and a German-Chinese mother. He doesn’t speak Mandarin (or any other Chinese dialect in fact) and his parents would not speak Chinese to him  “.. they were part of the silent generation and we never spoke of their Chinese past. Very few Chinese came to Germany and stayed when my grandfather and father did.”
Hu-Ping remembers his first Santa gig vividly “this was during college. My then girlfriend worked at a kindergarden and their Santa called in sick. So she asked me and it just carried on from that year on.”
Since then, he’s been a Santa-ambassador, a Santa-workshop leader, a Santa-historian, and at some point, he was Chair-santa of Berlin’s official Santa-council. 

During the 2020 christmas lockdown, Santa Chen has relied on tech and his filming skills (he used to be a cameraman, too) to spread the joy of Christmas. 

All images copyright
of Guannan Li