William Duffield Staff writer
December 24, 2013
XENIA — Here it is, the day before Christmas, and the Xenia Gazette and Fairborn Herald had a chance to sit down with one of the busiest people on any continent. The one, the only, Santa Claus.
Reporters picked the holiday icon’s mind in an effort to get some insight as to what makes St. Nick tick.
GCD — So, tonight’s the big night. Is everything ready?
SC — I hope so. I used to have everything done a good week in advance. But I’m getting older and I’m feeling it in my bones. Plus, the elves were difficult this year. Something about wanting $15 an hour — they say they heard something about it on the Internet.
GCD — The elves get paid? I never knew that!
SC — Well, they get a salary of candy canes and hot chocolate. I’m not even sure how that would relate to money.
GCD — It doesn’t look like we’re going to have a white Christmas this year. Does that disappoint you?
SC — Yes and no. I know the reindeer like it better when there is snow. It cushions the sound of us landing on the roof. I love snow, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t miss my glasses fogging up. A few years back, I couldn’t read my list so some kid named Ronald got a complete set of Bratz dolls. I had to make up for that the next year — he got a dirt bike. Fortunately, the girl who was supposed to get the Bratz dolls liked the basketball hoop and basketball.
GCD — What happens when you get weather that is unseasonably warm?
SC — That is difficult. With my suit, I sweat a lot. And the reindeer, without a water supply, pant quite a bit. I’ve been thinking of getting a motorcycle for using in those situations.
GCD — What do you do AFTER your Christmas Eve work?
SC — I used to get started right in on next year. But that was when I was young and chipper. Now, as I’m getting older, I like to take a day or two of “Santa Time.” Unfortunately, people still recognize me. Last year, I had to cut my hair short and trim my beard down to a goatee. Worked like a charm. Spent a long weekend on the beach in Florida. Recharged my batteries.
GCD — Do you have a favorite Christmas song?
SC — Not really. I have a lot of songs I don’t like. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” That one got me in a lot of trouble with the Missus. Same with “Santa Baby.” And “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,” I took that literally one year. I still walk with a bit of a limp when the weather changes.
GCD — What about Christmas specials or movies?
SC — I like “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” except it makes me out to be an old grump. Believe me, I don’t go through spells where the Missus has to remind me to eat. I don’t get “Frosty.” Why does he keep saying “Happy Birthday”? I like some of the older ones, like “Little Drummer Boy.” My favorite movie is “Christmas Story.” I love it when they say “You’ll shoot your eye out!” Funny stuff!
GCD — Have you ever thought of retiring?
SC — Never. What would I do all day? Putter around in a workshop making things? I already do that!
GCD — Some kids question how you can do your job of delivering toys all in one night. And all the Santas in stores and malls. How do you do it?
SC — Well, I can’t tell you everything about my delivery process – that’s a classified secret. What I can tell you is this… Time Zones and prearranged drop offs. As far as the fact I’ve been seen a lot of places at the same time? Well (adopting a deep voice, imitating Batman) I’m Santa…
GCD — So do you really give kids on the naughty list lumps of coal?
SC — Not any more. Al Gore told me to stop using coal because it was bad for the environment. Plus, I heard some of the really naughty kids were trying to develop a way of turning all that coal into diamonds. Now I have the bad elves paint regular rocks black with shoe polish and that’s what naughty-listers get for Christmas.
GCD — What’s the hottest toy this year?
SC — Electronic toys are big again. There’s a new Furby out, and a talking monkey, and a robotic dog… and of course the iPads and tablets. The old standards are there, too. Barbie is always popular for girls. Action figures for boys. And LEGOs… Do you know how many times I’ve hurt my foot stepping on LEGOs at the workshop? Those kids I bring LEGOs to — remember to keep them picked up or you’ll permanently be on the naughty list!
The most-asked for present, however, is for me to bring mommies and daddies home from Afghanistan. I try, but I can’t always fill that request.
And we heard him exclaim as he got up to go, “Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and, of course, Ho Ho Ho!”