With Christmas right around the corner, I wanted to continue the MBTI® holiday cheer! Personally, I couldn’t think of a better way to do that than with an in depth analysis of the type of the big man himself. Yep, today we will be examining the Myers-Briggs® type of good old St. Nick!
Before jumping into this deep and meaningful (or perhaps completely goofy) analysis of Kris Kringle, I wanted to make some clarifications. Santa has been portrayed in hundreds of movies, and he is shown a little differently in each film. In fact, I bet you could find a movie that portrays the jolly fellow from the North Pole as each of the 16 MBTI® types.
There is also something to be said for the fact that there is a “Santa” in every shopping mall in the United States… and probably plenty of other countries as well. That being said, everyone knows that it is really Santa’s helpers who portray him in the mall and other places, and I have no doubt that each of his helpers has a type of his own.
Today, we are looking not at movie Santas or mall Santas. We are looking at the real deal! Of course, Santa Claus is an elusive guy, so will examine what we know of him and infer the rest to estimate his type. Now that we’ve clarified, it’s time to dive in!
E or I?
- Extraversion: Mall Santas meet with small children every day for hours and hours at a time, and they manage to be cheerful and energetic for entire days… at least in most cases. They laugh, give hugs, and chat, while never meeting a stranger. The fact that they are ok having their pictures taken frequently surely indicates that they do not mind being the center of attention. These Santas clearly exhibit Extraverted characteristics, but they are not the REAL Santa.
- Introversion: Let’s look at the facts on the real Kris Kringle. First, he lives at the North Pole with his family and his extended family of elves. Has anyone checked out the population of the North Pole lately because it’s not exactly packed with people. Santa is clearly most comfortable living around those he is closest to. This is where he feels himself, and that is where he feels most jolly! Second, Santa comes down the chimney at night after everyone has gone to sleep to deliver presents. He obviously does not want to be the center of attention, and he wants to get his job done without draining interactions with people in the houses he visits. Next, Santa clearly prefers letter writing to other forms of communication with children, hence his preference for kids sending gift requests to the North Pole on paper, as opposed to Skype or phone calls. This also reduces the big guy’s energy drain from interactions. Finally, delivering presents once a year gives him a full year to reflect on the night!
I think it is pretty clear that mall Santas are probably Extraverts, but the real St. Nick prefers…
S or N?
- Sensing: According to the popular song, Santa “sees you when you’re sleeping”. This may indicate that Santa gathers data through the sense of sight, but is it really possible for Santa to gather Sensing data on every child in the world? Could he do that and still have time to live his life? Of course, you could certainly say that he is detail oriented due to his ability to keep everyone’s gifts straight, but what else indicates that Santa is a Sensing type?
- Intuition: In the same popular song, Santa, “knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good”. This certainly indicates a preference for Intuition, as this knowing is likely a gut feeling, rather than Santa receiving a report card from each parent in the world on every action of every child. Also, not every child writes to or visits Santa’s helpers at the mall to let him know what he or she wants for Christmas, yet he still knows!
This is a tough one which you are welcome to argue, but it really seems that Santa’s information gathering has to come from his preference for…
T or F?
- Thinking: Going back to the song, Santa asks children not to shout, cry, pout, or be bad. This gives the impression that Santa is objective and rule driven in his decision to bring gifts to children, and that really seems to indicate that he may be a Thinking type.
- Feeling: While the song about old St. Nick indicates a preference for objectivity, how many bad kids do you know who still got gifts from Santa? My guess is almost all of them. Even parents threaten children with a lack of presents from Santa, but the threats never seem to pan out. Sure, Santa wants kids to be good for the sake of goodness, but in the end he is willing to put the rules and regulations aside to make a kid happy… Maybe, he even understands the extenuating circumstances that lead to “badness”, and he decides to give a kid a break. I mean, sometimes it’s hard to clean your room when you are right in the midst of an art project or a video game!
In looking at the facts, it’s pretty obvious that Santa may want to come across as a Thinking type, but he really prefers…
J or P?
- Judging: This one is pretty simple. In order to deliver gifts to all of the children in the world in one night, Santa has to be a planner extraordinaire!! He makes a list and checks it twice, and he obviously has gifts sorted in his bag before he heads down the chimney… I mean, you don’t ever hear about him sorting packages on site because he accidentally pulled out presents for the wrong family, do you? Also, he has his elves make gifts year round, which shows that he plans ahead, and he works steadily towards the deadline.
- Perceiving: While I previously said that this preference was pretty simple to figure out, you could make a case that Santa prefers Perceiving! After all, he doesn’t actually deliver presents in advance. He clearly works well under the pressure of having to visit every house in the world in one night, and that is not a Judging quality. You could say that Santa’s elves are Js who spend the year preparing for Santa’s big run, but I am not entirely sure that is the case.
While this preference has turned out to be closer than expected, I think it’s safe to say that Santa prefers…
If you put all of this together, you can see that Santa Claus likely has a preference for…
I have to say that Santa’s type has not been all that easy to figure out. You could honestly make a case for almost any type, and this is largely because Old St. Nick is so elusive. Other factors, such as magic, have to come into play when determining the big man’s type, but where do you draw the line between magic and type? I would love to hear what you have to say on this topic, and I encourage you to argue your point in the comment section below. I hope you have taken this in depth analysis in the fun way in which it was intended, and I hope you remember that the types of all individuals, even Santa Claus, are ultimately up to that individual. That’s why, when I write to Santa this year, I am going to offer him a free Myers-Briggs® assessment and interpretation so that we can really get to the bottom of this!
If you want to learn more about the type preferences under non-magical circumstances, check out the Type Basics page. If you want to learn more about each Myers-Briggs® type, check out the 16 Types. Finally, if you regularly follow this blog, you may have noticed that Santa Claus has the opposite type of a zombie! To read more on this check out the Zombies page. Other than that, I will say, “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!”