Whether you know him by one of these names or simply by Santa Claus, he is a man known the world over....
From DHI Staff Reports
Pere Noel (Canada)
Senis Saltis (Lithuania)
Pai Natal (Portugal)
Father Christmas (Great Britain)
Whether you know him by one of these names or simply by Santa Claus, he is a man known the world over. He is an impressive presence in person – well over 6 feet tall with enough girth to make the overstuffed chair he is sitting in creak and groan every time he shifts his weight. His flowing white hair is a little reminiscent of Albert Einstein’s, sticking up here and there with the need of a little combing around the edges but his thick beard is neatly trimmed and laying flat across his chest. There appears to be some cookie crumbs stuck in the bristly white mass, however.
He is not wearing his normal uniform – “The Suit,” as he refers to it – but instead is wearing a long-sleeved, red flannel shirt with a pair of black ski pants and suspenders. There are no boots either. Just a thick pair of woolen socks covered by a pair of bunny slippers with the ears drooping over the sides. He laughs when they are commented on and says they were a gift from some of the elves a few years ago.
His laugh also places him apart from everyone else. It booms out, rattling windows and catching a listener on its waves, threatening to carry them along. It is infectious and makes this reporter smile.
Claus took the time recently to sit down for an interview at an undisclosed location.
Paulding Progress: Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today, Mr. Claus. I know this must be an extremely busy time of the year for you.
Santa Claus: Please, call me Santa. And it’s not a problem to talk with you. Jessica – Mrs. Claus – signed me up for a Pilates class to try to relieve my stress during this time of year but I would rather talk with you.
PP: Speaking of being busy, I am sure that one of the questions you get asked the most is about how you do what you do – delivering toys all around the world in one night. Just how do you do it?
SC: Oh, there’s no way I could still deliver all the toys without the TCM.
PP: The TCM?
SC: Time Continuum Modulator. It all has to do with quantum physics. Einstein started the process but Werner Heisenberg and his Uncertainty Principle really made it all come together. Let me tell you, they got everything they asked for on their lists for a few years! (He laughs.) I don’t want to get too technical but it has to do with the flow of time and its relationship to gravity as well as the placement of atoms. That’s really all I am able to say contractually. The placement of a distribution warehouse system around the world has helped a lot, too. Lots of re-supplying stops on Christmas Eve.
PP: Even so, it must feel like you have to be a lot of places at once. Even before Christmas Eve.
SC: Yes. I should also give a big thanks to all my helpers who dress up like me and go around to the malls and stores this time of year. I still make as many personal appearances as possible, though, whenever I can get out of the workshop. The children should remember that they will never know if it is me or one of the helpers when they see a Santa.
(Santa reaches into the drawer of the table beside him and pulls out a plate of cookies, offering one to this reporter. They smell heavenly but I refuse. He grabs one, however, and takes big bite.)
“Are you eating another cookie?” says a sweet voice from the other room. “I’ll need to let out your pants again this year if you don’t stop.”
SC: Yes, dear. I was just offering some to our guest. (He sticks the half-eaten cookie underneath his beard and gives me a wink.)
PP: Speaking of the workshop, is that where the elves are?
SC: Yes. They are in there most of the day this time of year. I try to make sure they get out and relax – catch a movie, that sort of thing – just to get their mind off their work. But they just love making toys so much it is hard to make them stop. I suppose we are all that way, though. We wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t love it and the children.
PP: And I am sure there are new problems every year. Things that pop up out of the blue?
SC: Oh, yes. One year a scientific study team was up here at the North P... I mean the Northern Command Base and we had to cut short our take off and landing practice with the reindeer. Ever since the first two Sputniks were launched by the Russians in 1957, I have had more and more debris to dodge up there in space. And even your NORAD captures me every year on radar and reports my position. You would think those analysts would learn to stop when all they get every year in their stocking is coal. (Laugh)
PP: Not everybody celebrates Christmas in the same way in every country. How do you keep all the customs straight?
SC: Sure, everyone is a little different. In the United States the children hang up stockings but in Germany and Belgium they put carrots or sugar cubes in boots by the door for the reindeer and I leave them candy or gifts. Actually, in the Netherlands, Belgium and a few other countries, I traditionally visit on Dec. 5 or 6. The chimney thing has changed a lot, too.
PP: The chimney thing? Are you talking about going into houses by using the chimney?
SC: Yes, I can’t do it that way as much anymore. So many people build their houses now without a working fireplace. So I use a window or a back door – that’s why I don’t worry as much about this. (He shakes his belly with both hands and laughs.) I don’t have to be quite so light on my feet if I’m not up on icy rooftops.
PP: I see you have been rubbing your hand a lot since we sat down. Did you have an accident in the shop?
SC: Oh, no. Don’t get the Worker’s Comp people in here after me. (Another laugh) No, I always have hand cramps by this time of year after answering the letters from the children. Email has been a blessing in the last few years, however. I get their lists quicker and I am able to answer back right away, too. It has really streamlined the process. I am a little worried about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, though. I’m giving Bill Gates coal every year until he figures out a good speech recognition program for Windows.
PP: So the lists are still what you are working from?
SC: Yes and no. We convert the lists now to electronic documents and I download them all to my PDA. I installed the extra memory pack. (He reaches into his pocket and pulls it out.) See, with this I can just type in a name and it automatically pulls up the list. It is constantly updated with a “Naughty” or “Nice” designation by WiFi. Much more effective than the long rolls of paper. Have you ever tried to find a name on a roll of paper at 15,000 feet over Nova Scotia? It’s not any fun, let me tell you. See here, if I type in your name... (He frowns.) It says here that you complained recently in a column about a Pong Game I brought you back in 1975....
PP: Well, I want to thank you for sitting down with me today, Santa. It has been a real pleasure. Is there anything else you would like to say to the readers of the Progress?
SC: Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!