The employee magazine
of the Volkswagen brand


Santas at the Plant

Thomas Dornig from the production facility and Ingo Simon from the maintenance department make children’s eyes light up with joy.

They quickly throw on their red coats and make sure their white beards are properly in place. It’s clear that these are professionals – real Santa pros! Wolfsburger employees Ingo Simon (46) and Thomas Dornig (37) fulfill the wishes hanging from the Christmas tree for “Volkswagen pro Ehrenamt” – wishes 
that are reserved exclusively for a genuine Santa Claus. They visit preschools, a nursing home and a facility for refugees, handing out presents and flashing big smiles. And they make the children and senior citizens just as happy as they themselves are. Both of them say, “Volunteering as Santa Claus is really fun. And it often brings cheer to our hearts.”

Simon and Dornig don their red coats each Christmas. Simon, who works as a foreman in the maintenance department and has been with Volkswagen for 20 years, has also been a member 
of the Parsau Santa Club in the Gifhorn 
area for 16 years. There really is such a club in this little village, located just under 30 kilometers  from Wolfsburg! On the weekend after St. Nicholas Day (December 6), its members were out and about in sleighs to surprise both the young and young at heart. Dornig, who has been working developing add-on components for four years now, has been volunteering as Santa for 13 years. He made his first appearance as Santa Claus at a preschool when he was doing his civilian service. Later, as a student, he worked as Kris Kringle to earn a bit of pocket money – the man whose job it is to bring joy to children the world over on Christmas Eve. And right from the start, he noticed that children pay attention to every detail. He once forgot his white gloves and wore his motorcycle gloves instead. “Immediately a boy shouted out to his father that ‘Santa has the same gloves as our civilian service man!’”

To make sure not to spoil the magic for any of the children, Dornig and his colleague, Simon, make it a point of honor that “we only change into our ‘uniforms’ in places where no one can see who Santa Claus really is.”

"Volunteering as Santa Claus is really fun. And it often brings cheer to our hearts"

Something that brings Thomas Dornig particular joy is being booked by parents even after some of the children have found out the truth about Santa. “I’m simply part of the Christmas Eve tradition,” says Dornig, who is now father to a one-year-old girl himself. “I ask the moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas for a poem – a request that is sometimes met with stutters.” But the Santas, Simon and Dornig, keep their cool. After all these years, they are ready for any situation, including when an otherwise easygoing child sheepishly hides behind the sofa. That’s when a little gentle encouragement and the prospect of a new toy helps. Or when they meet passers-by on the way to a job. “Because Santa always has some presents in reserve, I always keep some tangerines and chocolate with me. It’s all part of the act and has already brought a smile to many a face. They don’t have to be big presents.”

But there are also moments when the two Santas have to choke back their emotions. They have seen houses with Christmas trees so covered in presents that no more would fit, but hardly anyone in the family was excited by the prospect. Once, however, Simon was visiting acquaintances of a colleague. “When I gave the little boy his only present, he could hardly believe his eyes. ‘A present!’ he cried. ‘I’m finally getting a present again!’” Continues the Volkswagen employee, 
“Everyone had tears in their eyes because this child was so gloriously happy.”

Simon points to his arm. You can see goosebumps there. “On the way out, the parents told me about their difficult financial situation and how they were trying their best to give their boy a wonderful childhood with lots of love. That was the most moving thing I have ever experienced as Santa.” He is still grateful to that family to this day. “They gave me a wonderful gift with that experience.”

The tree of Christmas wishes

Charitable organizations from Wolfsburg and the surrounding area have submitted their wish lists to the Christmas wish tree through “Volkswagen pro Ehrenamt” for Volkswagen employees to contribute. Further information can be found on the portal under  “Me at Volkswagen –> Getting involved –> Volkswagen pro Ehrenamt.” Contact if you want to register or have any questions.  

For coffee lovers

“I have a friend who drives a classic vintage Porsche. The only thing missing is a matching cup, timeless and with a gold rim.”
(Axel Waletzke, Merchandising 
Products Warehousing)
24,95 euros

for the cuddlers

“All around me, people are about to turn 18 and get 
their driver’s licenses. To whet their appetites for our real cars,  I’m giving nothing but 
stuffed-toy GTIs this year.” 
(Celine Di Maria, Merchandising Products Warehousing)
25 euros


For wordsmiths

“A pen with a personal engraving 
is simply the classic among gifts: 
it is timeless, personal and individual.” (Jan Kloster, Head of the Promotional Materials Office and Volkswagen Shop)
10,50 euros

For savers

“My dream car is the Volkswagen Bus. So I’m giving myself the 
piggy bank to start saving for it.” (Tobias Fruh, Volkswagen Property).
5,50 euros

For hunters und gatherers

“I’m giving a tin model of the Golf 1 to a friend who collects model cars. The purchase price is donated to a non-profit organization, so it’s a 
two-fold gift.” (Thomas Volk, Volkswagen Shop)
199 euros

For water sports enthusiasts

“I’m giving the GTI rubber duck to 
my son. Since I’m a GTI driver myself, there was obviously no other choice.” (Björn Trautmann, power plant)
5,50 Euro

For early starters

“I always wanted to buy a Beetle. 
Now I’m starting small and giving my nephew David the miniature version.” (Mona Ickert, Intern)
71,92 euros

For the brand-conscious

“The jacket is a gift for my son. He’s training to become an 
electronics engineer at the Wolfsburg plant and totally identifies with Volkswagen. So the jacket with the nice logo is the perfect gift for him.” 
(Manuela Dewitz, 
Procurement Manager)
69 euros

And you can buy the gifts here:

The shop at Gate 17 of the Wolfsburg plant is open Monday 
to Friday, 8 am to 3:30 pm. The shop in Hanover on Bernd-
Wiedemann-Allee (between sectors 10 and 11) is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 to 11:15 am and from 12:30 to 2:15 pm. Shop around the clock with the online shop: Employee Portal -> Services  
-> Merchandise -> Volkswagen Online Shop