In our wildest imagination: Father Christmas on his top podcasts, websites and Instagrammers.

The man of the moment, Father Christmas, shares with us the countless ways in which his job has been enhanced by the march of the World Wide Web.

Whether you know him as Father Christmas, Santa Claus or St. Nicholas, chances are that, year after year, the bearded man in the red suit plays an integral part in your family’s festivities.

He first crept into our consciousness in the fourth century and has been ho-ho-ho-ing his way down our chimneys pretty much ever since. But the world has changed immeasurably since he started out…

Here, the jovial cove shares with us the podcasts, blogs and Instagram feeds that bring him good cheer throughout his year.

Favourite website... Weather forecast websites have changed my life. My favourite is AccuWeather. I used to have pack up my sleigh and set off through the skies with no notion of what weather I might encounter in the course of the night. Now, thanks to superior forecasting, I am aware of every drop of rain, sleet and snow.

Favourite app… It has to be Evernote. I can’t tell you the headache I used to have keeping lists of who’d been naughty and who’d been nice. This app helps me keep all my lists in one place and share them efficiently with my wife and elves.

Blog of choice… I really like Orange Marmalade Books. Written by a mother of four, this blog is an excellent guide to children’s literature. I have stuffed many a stocking with its thoughtful recommendations.

Internet heroes… I’m a huge admirer of anybody who promotes sustainable toys online. Green Toys and Bigjigs Toys spring to mind.

Favourite podcast... I do enjoy Table Manners With Jessie Ware, in which the pop star and her mum, Lennie, invite a guest over for dinner and a natter. They get great guests, like Nigella Lawson, Sadiq Khan and Yotam Ottolenghi. Each episode combines two of my favourite things: food and chit chat.

Most recent buy online… I have high sartorial standards, both for myself and for the elves. I like rich fabrics, in deep reds and greens, and a flash of fur is always a bonus. The other day I came across Sir Plus’s new ivy green velvet Nehru waistcoat and bought one for each member of the team.

Book just downloaded/read… My wife longs for me to get to grips with reading on a Kindle, but I can’t. I like the feel of proper pages too much. She has just given me a first edition of Raymond Briggs’s Father Christmas that she got from a great website called It’s getting me in the mood for December!

Favourite tweeter… I love following The New Yorker on Twitter, @NewYorker. It offers a brilliant, bite-sized dose of culture, with sassy articles and cartoons that never fail to make me chuckle. It forces me to think beyond my cosy sanctuary of toys and Christmas merriment, too.

Favourite Instagrammer… @theslowtraveler. I glimpse much of the world from my sleigh but it’s usually at night and I am always in a hideous rush. This feed is beautifully curated, and its stylish photographs showcase parts of the globe in a way that I rarely get to see them.

Social media allowed me to meet… The Tooth Fairy, Jack Frost and the Easter Bunny. It was quite helpful to hear how they plan to keep their magic alive for the children of an increasingly sceptical world.

Most worthwhile newsletter subscribed to… The elves and I can get a little inward-looking in our workshop. We find ToyNews’s daily newsletter a useful window into the toy industry. It keeps us really fresh and gives us a good idea of what’s in and what’s out and why.

Pet hate about life online… I only hate that it makes me feel old. I can’t always keep up. I’ve only just got to grips with the concept of a hashtag, for example. I thank God every day for my wife and elves, who are generally more techy than I am.

Stand out online memory… Back in the early Noughties, I thought online gaming was going to ruin me. I thought the world’s boys and girls wouldn’t be interested in my quaint ways any longer. It got me down for a bit – until I realised, like everybody else, that I could make the internet work for me without it taking over completely.

December 2018