Santa has an incredibly demanding job with traveling the globe and visiting every child’s house in one night. But it’s one that he finds incredibly rewarding, bringing much joy and happiness to children around the world. I caught up with Santa at a local mall as he prepared to make his seasonal debut to find out just how he does it.
Santa is already busy taking requests from excited youngsters anxious for a turn on his knee. But requests aren’t all Santa encounters. There are also lots of questions. The most popular of which is the question of cookies. “I never get sick of cookies and milk,” Santa says with his deep, jolly laugh. Guess that’s why he consumes so many as he journeys from house to house. And he claims to love white milk and chocolate milk equally.
On his big night, Santa has to make quick moves to deliver toys and goodies to children around the world. Although he says he’s not sure how fast his infamous sleigh travels, it’s been estimated to be 650 miles per second — 3,000 times the speed of sound! But his elves are extremely helpful — especially when he gets caught in chimneys. “My elves help pull me out when I get stuck,” Santa laughs.
Speaking of chimneys, they are a hot topic among children who live in houses that don’t have them. “I get in with my Magical Master Key that opens any window or door,” Santa assures with a hearty chuckle.
Santa’s North Pole home bustles with activity at this time of year, with thousands of elves helping Santa prepare for December 24. Before he sets sail across the cold, wintry sky, Mrs. Claus fixes her famous hubby a hearty meal while he packs the sleigh. After delivering toys, Santa spends Christmas day “propping my feet up and eating.”
After the holiday, Santa says everyone at the North Pole takes a few weeks off and it’s the time that he and Mrs. Claus are most likely to take their vacation. “Mrs. Claus LOVES to travel … and shop,” Santa says, chuckling again. Though the couple enjoys traveling all over the world, South Florida is one of their favorite spots. And since fishing is one of his favorite hobbies, Santa loves visiting places where he can cast a line.
While Clauses are vacationing, the elves in the Research and Development Department of the North Pole are busy looking into what’s going to be hot for the next season.
Santa is quite the animal lover as well. Aside from the reindeer, he is the proud owner of a herd of pygmy goats, chickens, a few dogs and some cats who all live in the big barn behind his home. “The reindeer spend their days grazing and exercising to stay in shape,” Santa says. He does have “back-up” reindeer in case one of his regulars gets sick on Christmas Eve, but “that has never happened,” he says. “I can’t recall when one of them has been sick because they all work hard toward being well.”
Although most people assume Rudolph is probably his favorite reindeer, Santa doesn’t play favorites. “You really can’t show partiality,” he says. “They all work hard and do a good job.” He also adds that Rudolph’s nose doesn’t just glow on Christmas Eve, but at night any time of the year, “like a lightning bug.”
During his down time, Santa sets a good example to kids everywhere by his interest in education. “I love reading (mostly non-fiction) and constantly try to re-educate myself,” he says. “I love to learn something new. I’m big on the Internet. It’s a wealth of information.”
But for now, Santa’s days are happily consumed by visiting with children everywhere and he readily admits that he has lots of assistance across town. “I couldn’t pull this off without a lot of helpers,” he chuckles.
He also admits that he doesn’t come to houses when kids are still awake. When asked about what advice he might have for children who just can’t get to sleep on Christmas Eve, Santa says, “Just think about going to sleep and not about what will be waiting for you when you get up.”
The Skinny on Santa
1. Age: Ageless
2: Birthday: June 27
3: Favorite Christmas Carol: Likes them all, but “Joy to the World” in particular
4. Favorite Christmas tree: Cedar
5. Favorite Food: Country Ham, Turkey Dinner, also likes Cuban and Mexican
6. Favorite Actor: Harrison Ford
7. Favorite Pastimes: Surfing the Internet, reading non-fiction
8. Favorite Cookie: Oatmeal Raisin with Chocolate Chip coming in at a close second
9. Favorite Holiday Besides Christmas: Thanksgiving
10. What he wants for Christmas this year: World peace
All in a Day’s Work?
Here’s a sampling of what mall Santas endured last year when visited by children:
12 percent were bitten by children
75 percent were kicked
100 percent had their beards pulled
source: General Growth Properties Santa Survey