The Valdosta Daily Times
Note: In the spirit of Christmas, the Times is sharing a fanciful interview with the Jolly Old Elf from the North Pole.
NORTH POLE — Santa Claus is preparing for a very long night tonight, but was gracious enough to answer a few questions for our young readers.
Q: Santa, why are you always so jolly and happy?
A: How could I not be? I get to give presents to boys and girls around the world. The gift of giving is far better than receiving, and the joy and happiness on Christmas morning on all their shining faces makes me very happy.
Q: How old are you?
A: I thought the answer Kris Kringle, another of my names, gave in the movie “Miracle on 34th Street” is the best way to answer that question. “I’m as old as my tongue and older than my teeth.”
Q: How were the reindeer named?
A: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet and Cupid…well, they really role off the tongue, don’t they? Most folks don’t know that the last two are actually Donner and Blitzen, which means thunder and lightning in German. I thought about Flash, but that name was already used by a cartoon character and I wanted to be inclusive of other cultures as well. Rudolph, in terms of the reindeer, is much younger, but his nose still shines as bright as it used to!
Q: How do the reindeer fly?
A: Well, they practice every day. And they’ve been doing it for years.
Q: Why do you have so many names?
A: When you’ve been around for as long as I have and you are known in so many countries, everyone’s got their nicknames for me. I’m St. Nick or St. Nicklaus, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, Pere Noel, and many more. I answer to all of them!
Q: Why do you live in the North Pole?
A: I needed somewhere quiet and not near any major cities so I have room for my enormous workshop and don’t have to worry about any neighbors while we test the toys. The North Pole is really centrally located and easy to get to from all over the world, except maybe the South Pole! I love children, but I wouldn’t get any work done all year if it was easy to visit my house, so we have to be in a secluded place.
Q: Where did the elves come from?
A: The elves are really an old tribe from a land that no longer exists and they’ve been working for me for many years. They have a great work ethic and are terrific toy makers. But please, don’t ever call them gnomes! Gnomes are mischief makers and the elves are hard workers, so they might take it as an insult.
Q: How many helpers do you have at Christmas?
A: In order to be all around the world during the holiday season, I need a lot of helpers. Some dress like me and talk to children every day, while others go around
performing good deeds and helping others. Christmas is a world wide celebration and I’m just a small part of it.
Q: How do you fit down chimneys and what do you do when there is no chimney?
A: I may look overweight but I’m really fit and strong, and I can squeeze into places you’d never imagine. But I can’t give away all my secrets!
Q: You give presents to everyone else, but what do you want for Christmas?
A: I’d love for there to be peace in the world, but that is beyond my powers. All I can do is bring hope, love and happiness to children, and hope that for one day, I can make them smile.
Q: What did you give Mrs. Claus this year?
A: She loves jewelry. Don’t all women?
Q: What do you want children to know about you?
A: That I am the spirit of Christmas and love, but they have to honor their parents and try to be good all year. Children should honor the faith of their family, do well in school and have a giving spirit. When you understand the greatness of giving, you can understand the wonder and magic of Christmas.