While he’s making his list and checking it twice, Santa Claus made time to visit his favorite newspaper staff during his busiest season. Santa visited with Sun reporter Nikki Rowell to discuss all things Christmas while he was out taking a sleigh and reindeer test drive before Christmas Eve. Before heading back to the North Pole, Santa loaded his sleigh with the hundreds of letters written to him from Northside children.
Santa, it’s so nice to finally meet you. Are you all prepared for Christmas Eve?
“Yes. The sleigh is up-and-running, the list has been double-checked and my bag is packed full of presents to fill stockings and go under trees across the world. I’ve got some last-minute preparations to make, like getting my suit cleaned and my beard trimmed. All that travel, I still like to look nice.”
How do you prepare for the big day?
“You know, I’ve been working out. That bag can get HEAVY. And fitting down chimneys isn’t always easy.”
What is the best part of your trips?
“I love the feeling of knowing that good little children will wake up to their hearts’ desires Christmas morning. Plus, nothing beats a fast drive in the sleigh. Don’t tell Mrs. Claus, but sampling the cookies along the way comes in close second. She’s trying to get me to cut down on the sweets.”
Santa, I’ve always wondered, after all those cookies how do you fit down the chimney?
“I have some of my elves ride along to help. I let a couple go down before me to help pull and a few stay behind to push me in. That’s just for the smaller chimneys. I usually don’t have much problem. I have to make it fast. Many gifts to give in so little time.”
How many homes will you visit?
“Millions. There were a lot of good children this year, so I’ve really got my work cut out for me. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Will Rudolph be guiding the sleigh again this year?
“He always does. He saves me so much money on headlights, I tell ya.”
What do the reindeer like to eat?
“They love carrots and leafy greens. They would love it if the children left some snacks for them too, hint hint. Christmas cookies and milk aren’t good reindeer food.”
What were the most requested items this year?
“Dinosaur and unicorn toys were all the rage this year. I’ve been asked for a lot of Hatchimals, Paw Patrol fire trucks, Lego sets and bicycles. I’ve also gotten plenty of requests for tech items, including smart phones and tablets. I’m not very tech-savvy, so my elves had to help me out with some of those.”
Santa, you’ve been doing this for a long time, what do you enjoy most about your job?
“It’s always fun to see the children that I bring gifts grow up and pass along the magic of Christmas to their own children.”
Are you ready for your shelf elves to return home to the North Pole?
“Yes! I miss my elves when they’re away. But they’re such great help to keep the naughty and nice lists updated. I can’t always be watching, so extra sets of eyes always help. They get into mischief when they’re guests in Northsiders’ homes. I like looking at the photos that parents post online of their adventures while they are away.”
How do you relax after Christmas is over?
“I sit by the fire with Mrs. Claus with a big glass of eggnog and a Christmas movie after I’ve made my rounds. Then, Mrs. Claus and I head down south for our annual tropical vacation.”
What are your favorite Christmas movies?
“It’s difficult to name a favorite. I love them all. But my top two would be ‘How a Grinch Stole Christmas’ and ‘Elf.’ The Grinch teaches us that the hustle and bustle around Christmas is not nearly as important as who you spend it with. Buddy the elf shows us the importance of family and Christmas cheer.”
Does it bother you when children get older and stop believing?
“Ouch! That can sting. But I never stop believing in them.”
How do you stay so jolly?
“How can you not be happy when you celebrate Christmas year-round?”
You take a lot of gift requests from children every year, but has anyone ever asked you what you want for Christmas?
“I always want the same thing for
Christmas each year, to give all the children of the world their best and happiest Christmas yet. There is no better gift than that.”
I have a gift request for myself, Santa. Do you think you could bring us a white Christmas this year?
“That’s a hard one. I can’t make any promises there. You do live in south Mississippi.”