Santa Claus, AKA Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick or simply, Santa, plans to continue the tradition of delivering gifts for well-behaved children on Christmas Eve and the early hours of December 25. He looks forward to munching on the cookies that Northside children will leave out for him and washing them down with milk. While on a test run, he stopped by the Northside Sun to visit, enjoy a snack and pick up the paper so he could read all the letters we’ve received written by Northside youngsters.
How have you been, Santa?
“I’m happy to say that I’m well and so is Mrs. Claus. What a year 2020 has been because of COVID-19! We shut down things at the North Pole for a few weeks earlier this year in the interest of everyone’s health but reopened with everyone wearing masks and practicing social distancing and frequent handwashing. We hope many people will be vaccinated in the coming months against the coronavirus and that Christmas 2020 will be as jovial as possible.”
Are you still ‘chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf’ as Clement Clarke Moore describes you in his poem, ‘A Visit from St. Nicholas’?
“After all of these years, that still describes me. And yes, I still have ‘a little round belly’ that Mr. Moore wrote ‘shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.’
“Honestly, I’ve tried to drop a few pounds, but I ended up gaining the Quarantine 15. I like all cookies. Chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, oatmeal-raisin cookies, sugar cookies, peanut butter cookies, snickerdoodles, macarons and brownies. You name a cookie, and I like it.”
What’s new at the North Pole?
“Mrs. Claus has been busy sewing face masks in festive holiday fabrics for us and all of the elves. She insists that we wear them when we’re together and out and about and that we practice social distancing and frequent handwashing. She’s very persistent and persuasive, so we do all of that.
“This year, we put up many, many more strands of lights and inflatables because we wanted to be extra cheerful because of coronavirus. The North Pole is always festive but it’s even more so this year.”
How are the elves?
“The elves, as always, stay busy producing lots and lots of toys. They work in teams according to their talents and skills. The tech-savvy elves amaze me with what they produce. I’m talking about toys that teach computer coding, drones for picture taking – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
“The elves who are craftsmen – some of whom are so expert that they have achieved membership in the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi – create old-fashioned toys such as building blocks and Yo-Yos that are so beautiful adults want them as much as children do.
“We have a whole team devoted to board games, games that are just slap happy fun and bring families together, games that puts the imagination to work, games that improve children’s reading or writing skills and more. There’s also a team of elves devoted to dolls and that’s composed of elves, who are seamstresses, tailors and fashion designers.
“The elves who like to put things together are in charge of bicycles, tricycles, scooters and such. They’re always testing a new prototype, debating colors, whether to add a pinstripe or not and seeing how fast things can go. If you ever see an elf with a broken arm or leg, it’s a good bet he’s a member of the squad responsible for the riding toys.
“Oh, and, don’t let me forget about the elves who come up with the most creative arts and crafts kits and amazing puzzles. Those are just a few of the teams of elves and their assignments that come to mind.”
What are some of the most popular toys this year?
“PlayStation 5 is a hot one that appears on all of the lists of popular toys.”
What are some of your favorite old-fashioned toys?
“A ball is a simple toy that’s fun for either a girl or boy. The same goes for a book. Neither one of those require batteries, and that’s always a plus.”
How are the reindeer? How do they prepare for the trip?
“Thank goodness, they’re healthy. What would I do without them? They are eating nourishing foods – no junk food allowed – and exercising so they will be strong and can make it through the long night without a problem. They’re also practicing yoga – the stretching is good for them – and meditation, all of which helps them chill out a little and keep a positive outlook. I breathed a big sigh of relief when I learned animals were not affected by the coronavirus.”
What do you see when you’re flying over the Northside? Please describe it.
“I see many church steeples, every now and then a bell towers such as the one at Millsaps College, some beautiful fountains, countless treetops and lots of stars. It’s always a night like no other.”
Do you whistle or sing when you’re on your Christmas Eve travels?
“Good question. Sometimes I whistle and sometimes I sing Christmas carols. The reindeer get a kick out of hearing my rendition of ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.’ You just can’t imagine how many times I’ve sung that to them.”
Have the children on the Northside been good this year?
“Yes. It’s been a trying year for many of them and their parents because of the coronavirus and challenges it has brought, including remote learning, but yes, they’ve been good. I have a subscription to the Sun and I always look at the pictures and the lists of students in the school news section and I look forward to reading their letters. There are going to be many happy children on Christmas morning.”
How many toys will you deliver this year?
“A lot. So many that I can’t keep count. There are roughly 2.2 billion children on Earth and I have to visit each and every one. Almost all of them are good.”
How do you manage to do all of this?
“I can’t take credit. It takes a village, as that saying goes. Mrs. Claus is a big help, and, of course, the elves and the reindeer and local weather forecasters, who make sure I have the latest information I need. The elves are not just into toymaking but packing and logistics. They load my sleigh so that I can easily reach the toys I need when I need them and drop them off and be on my way. I can’t fumble around on Christmas Eve or else I won’t get my work done. To make sure everything is in tip-top order, we spend months in preparation and have numerous practice rounds.”
Do you plan on taking any time off after Christmas?
“I hope to, but I’m not certain this year. I’ll need to check with Mrs. Claus and see where she would like to go. I imagine that a beach like Gulf Shoes, Alabama or Seaside, Florida, would be attractive to her.”
Santa, we always enjoy visiting with you and learning more about what you do. Do you have a final message for our readers?
“Keep in mind that Christmas gifts bring lots of excitement, but the real reason for the season is the birth of Jesus Christ. Ho, ho, ho! Have a Merry Christmas!”