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Naughty or Nice? The Department of Christmas Affairs has a pass for that

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Many like to joke that in Canberra you can’t swing a lanyard without hitting a public servant. Well, two years ago Santa got in on the action with his Department of Christmas Affairs.

Created by web developer Millie Clery—who brought the concept to life with colleague and Content Strategist Clayton Smith—the Department of Christmas Affairs (or DCA because it wouldn’t be the public sector without an acronym) was an instant hit, giving Canberrans a much-needed dose of levity after a long 2019.

Well, after another year that many felt lasted a few decades, The Department of Christmas Affairs is back with more Canberra-themed hilarity—and this year, you can download a free personalised NicePass or NaughtyPass that has been officially endorsed by the Hon Nick Claus MP himself.

Based on your behaviour listed on the official Naughty and Nice List for 2021, you can download the verified (and real looking) pass to your Apple or Google wallet to prove whether you’ve been naughty or nice to your friends, family and government officials.

However, with almost 24,000 unique names on the list The Department of Christmas Affairs does acknowledge there’s bound to be some mistakes – and that’s why the DCA allows you to lodge a formal dispute and provide evidence that could see your naughty status overturned.

“The list is being updated every Friday in the lead-up to Christmas,” says Millie. “So, people still have time to get their names added to the list, or earn a few extra good behaviour points to get themselves back on Santa’s good side.”

Despite the DCA’s success, and the crucial role the Department of Christmas Affairs fulfills for the North Pole Government, there has been no funding for the Department in any budget papers since its inception.

“The DCA has actually been receiving a lot of job applications – unfortunately the Covid restrictions resulted in a bit of a hiring freeze – but we’ve got some fun things planned for the future, so we might be looking to expand in 2022.” says Millie.

Currently looking into chat bots and a member’s portal where you can create a profile, personalise your experience and register an official Christmas wish-list with Santa, the DCA has launched Kickstarter campaign in an effort to cover their costs.

By making a one-off pledge, you can become an honorary DCA staff member, and have your name featured on the DCA website in 2022. And in a move that is sure to raise the eyebrows of anti-corruption watchdogs the world over, the more you pledge the higher up the DCA organisation chart you will be placed.

There are even a few Assistant Secretary positions up for grabs!

How’s that for a Christmas bonus?


The idea for the DCA came to Mille and her team after a year leading website development projects for Government.

While the name will make perfect sense to most Canberrans, Millie is quick to point out that “ is not a Tinder-esque people matching tool—it’s not going to help you play ‘hide the present’.”

The actual aim of the website? To spread a little Christmas cheer in a very Canberran way.

“You can use the DCA’s official Gift Request form, call Santa directly (a real working phone number for your kids to call Santa), and even make a submission to the National Gift Appropriateness Inquiry,” says Millie.

Naturally, the site has had all the necessary 2021 updates, including COVID Safety tips for households.


Whether you don a lanyard daily yourself or have no idea what APS6 or Flex means, you’re sure to get a chuckle out of the Department of Christmas Affairs—and yes, the Department’s number takes you straight to (delightfully Australian-accented) Santa’s voicemail.


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