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A Visit With Santa
Where the spirit flourishes the dream lives on...
Growing up, and even now in these later years, I have always had so many real questions about Santa Claus that I wished I could sit down with him in one of his rare quiet moments and hear him answer. I finally have had that chance, and here are my questions and his answers:
(By the way, he told me he actually prefers to be called by his Kris Kringle name because "It brings so much of the Christmas story to mind.".)
Q. What about all the overtime you put in at this time of year, do you mind?
A. Having children who are usually so joyful, talking and visiting with me (just like your grandchildren are when they visit you and your missis) makes the long hours go by so quickly. You can imagine, this is the time of year I live for and look forward to, just as football players and dancers live for their ways of life.
Q. When one of my sons was in grade school he sent you a postcard (I believe it was in April of that year.) The Post Office returned it with a note that it was not deliverable because you were "....on vacation in the Virgin Islands." Do you go there every year?
A. Not every year. I especially like to vacation in Africa and in Asia. The animals and the people---especially the boys and girls---are so special to me.
Q. So many children leave you treats for Christmas Eve, do you have favorite treats they leave?
A. I'm afraid I enjoy them all ,so much so that I have to watch what I eat all the rest of the year! If I named a favorite or two, they would be egg nog and chocolate chip cookies.
Q. How is Mrs. Santa...er, uh...Mrs. Kringle, and is there a favorite dish she makes that you enjoy?
A. She is fine, and she's a wonderful cook! I do have to watch my weight, but I can't resist her strudel!
Q. You are such a fine judge of what children want for Christmas, even if you haven't talked with some of them, I wonder what you gave Mrs. Kringle for Christmas last year?
A. I usually give that a lot of thought, but last year we had some last minute emergencies, and I suddenly realized I hadn't decided what to give her! I had just finished leaving a present at the last child's house and I was going home, when I found a small, homeless puppy. I smiled then, because I could give the puppy a home for Christmas, and give Mrs. Kringle a puppy for her present.
Q. How did that work out?
A. Ho, ho, ho! It was love at first lick, and she named it Snowpuff.
Q. I always wondered what you do if a home has a very small chimney, or even no chimney at all?
A. I use what is called transposition, like you used to see when you watched Star Trek. I just touch my nose, think the thought, and I am quickly and quietly in the family room.
Q. I think the world changes so quickly now, just as the favorite toys seem to change each year. From the time I was a boy, have children changed, too?
A. Not really. Children's hopes, dreams, and beliefs haven't changed much since Ancient Rome. I remember one year when the favorite toys were a doll named "Strawberry Shortcake," the mechanical "AT-AT" fort from the then popular movie "The Empire Strikes Back," and "The Dukes of Hazard Barn Buster.", That last one bothered me a lot. I had trouble when I imagined even then what many of that year's children would be driving like today. Some of those concerns seem to have been justified!
Q. When do you stop making a list of children and checking it twice?
A. At about age 96. Children are just starting to question then, but as soon as we get together and talk and sing, they believe all over again.
Q. How do your reindeer keep in shape for what they do every Christmas Eve?
A. They have to forage for their food, you know, just like other reindeer do, but they know that to be chosen for Christmas Eve they have to be the strongest reindeer. To be the strongest, they have games and contests and keep in shape on their own. Then I sprinkle my magic dust on them, and the ones I choose are ready to fly.
Q. Has Rudolph grown up yet?
A. Of course, why not?
Q. Many parts of the world have snow for Christmas, but I always wondered what do you do in places such as Mexico, Morocco., and Micronesia.
A. Snow isn't needed. Christmas is what you believe. As long as children believe, I'll be there.
Q. I've noticed this year, and in the past, that you give a lot of advice to the children you visit with. Do you have any special advice for mothers or fathers?
A. I would tell them that their children love them and need them. Take the time to listen, love, and learn. Christmas is lost by providing for it rather than being part of it.
Q. There has been a rumor all these years that moms and dads have helped with the cost of some of the things you leave for children. Is there any truth to that story?
A. Yes. When parents need to feel part of what some folks call "the Santa spirit," I let them help.
Q. Santa, if the children of the world could give you one wish for Christmas this year, what would your wish be?
A. My wish every year is that each of the world's children would have the will to hope, the vision to dream, and the courage and opportunity to live those dreams. I must go now, but thanks for asking. Have a very, very Merry Christmas now, and every year.
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