Whatever you call him — Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, Saint Nicholas — the big, jolly man with the red suit brings joy to anyone he encounters. This year, he was able to stop by the tristate and give a little bit of insight to his life at the North Pole.
“I love the smells and sounds of Christmas and the things that bring people, families together. Santa has to have a place in your heart at Christmastime and it’s not just commercial. Santa is a big part of that — the giving, being together,” said Claus.
He has been spending weekends at malls and shopping centers across the country, taking photos with children and listening to their special wish list.
“The best thing is the smile you get from children and even sometimes tears until they learn I’m a good guy,” laughed Claus.
When he’s not busy reading letters, keeping tabs on the elves or training the reindeer, there is other work that those outside of his world do not think much about.
“It’s pretty isolated at the North Pole, so we have to do all of the work — getting reindeer ready, fitting elves for new clothes because sometimes they grow or lose weight. Sometimes the elves wives help, and that’s appreciated. New reindeer are being born all the time and that’s busy because they have to get their shots and everything they need,” said Claus.
With all of the work that has to be done for Christmas Eve delivery, Mrs. Claus is supportive through it all.
“She enjoys getting me out of the house. You know, I’m there 364 days a year,” laughed Claus. “She helps cook the reindeer a special meal on the big night before so they have plenty of energy to carry a sleigh full of toys for thousands of miles. It’s a lot lighter on the way back so we can get home pretty quick.”
After a long night of distributing gifts to boys and girls around the world, Claus really enjoys the milk and cookies left for him by children. He has a special tip for the kids that leave him a snack — push a fingerprint into the dough before baking the cookies so that he knows they were handmade by you and not your parents.
A good portion of his time is devoted to the lists, however he urges children not to worry about their division. The nice list this year is 3,600 miles long while the naughty list spans only about 7.2 miles. Claus said that those who break the law or are bullies will definitely end up on the ‘naughty list’, but those who do wrong or make mistakes and show remorse for their actions are put back on the ‘nice list’.
Claus does not have any pets per say, but he does have a favorite reindeer named Abigail. She is the mother to Rudolph, as well as Dasher, Prancer and four additional, lesser-known deer.
“She is sweet and when I go out to the barn, she’s always there to greet me, nudge me out of the snow if I get stuck and we watch out for each other,” said Claus.
Claus encourages children to use a special North Pole wave if they see him flying in the sky above — put thumb inside a clenched fist and when you are ready to wave, stick your thumb out and waggle it. This suggestion is important to avoid cold fingers and frostbite, which is common in the North Pole.
Reach Kelsey Gerhardt at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardtmbdn.