Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Santa Answers Tough Questions


You gotta wonder about Santa Claus. His choice of outfits. How he manages to trot the globe in one night. How he hasn't been arrested for breaking and entering. How he keeps looking so youthful.

And the kids, they have plenty of questions of their own about how Santa gets his toys from the North Pole to kids around the globe on Christmas Eve night. In a recent interview which took me twelve months to land, Santa managed to take a break from a public appearance at a local mall. We sat in the Food Court with two Diet Cokes as Santa explained it all to me.

Q: Santa, how do you go around the world in one night?

A: There are different Santas in different countries. For instance, Kris Kringle covers all of Germany. There's one in Sweden. Another in Norway. So it's really a Santa Claus for every country. I cover the USA.

Q: How do you know who has been naughty or nice?

A: You can tell by meeting the children and their dispositions. If they are brought to you, you put them on your lap and talk to to them. You can just tell.

Q: Have I been naughty or nice?

A: [Laughing] You look like you have been nice. Isn't your name Johnny as in Johnny-Be-Good? (I widely grin here and tuck some of my curly hair behind my ears.)

Q: Back in Florida, we don't have a lot of chimneys. How do you get into the houses?

A: What we do in Florida: I go to the front door, wiggle my nose three times, take my little finger and push the end of my nose, and the door pops open.

Q: But what about the alarms?

A: You don't have to turn the alarm off on Christmas Eve because my magic door-opener bypasses the alarm. I'll get in.

Q: Ahhh, I see. Clever. What have you been asked for the most this year?

A: Without a question of a doubt, it's scooters, ranging from age 3-13 for boys and girls. The community is going to be covered with scooters come Christmas Day. Stay out of the way. The kids are going to take over. The second item this year - and it is almost every year - is bikes. No. 3 this year is Barbie and all her accessories. Video games are always popular too and they're mentioned by one out of every five kids.

Q: What's on your iPod?

Santa pulls out his iPhone from his red front pocket and uses his index finger to scroll down his playlist.

A: Let's see here. I've got Lady Gaga, Keith Urban, Jay-Z and Miley Cyrus.

Q: Really? You like Lady Gaga.

He hands me his iPhone as proof and flashes his endearing smile. Then he does the "Pokerface" face/hand gesture.

Q: How do the reindeer fly?

A: You folks are all familiar with Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and the helium-filled floats. I invented a system years and years and years ago and I will not give out the secret recipe. With a little mixture of helium and a little magic like I use in opening the front door, the reindeer will fly.

Q: Where's Rudolph been lately?

A: At the North Pole, exercising, getting in shape for the big night.

Q: Do you ever get hot in your suit, especially in Miami?

Before answering, he waves his hand in the air and he magically switches from his traditional Santa suit to a more casual one.

A: This right here is my Florida suit. Santa points to his button-down red and white long-sleeved plaid shirt, suspenders and red-velvet trousers. No hat. I have a vest I wear over this that makes it dressier. I have the traditional suit, but you can't sit for 12 hours a day in a mall and survive in the traditional suit. They have a fan for me to keep me cooled off.

Q: You are a couple hundred years old. How do you keep looking so young?

A: If I could sell that formula, I would be a multimillionaire. I honestly don't know. What do you use, Johnny?

A: Lancome, Paris! (We laugh out loud)

Q: Any advice for kids on Christmas Eve?

A: Get to bed on time or a little early. And go to sleep. I can't come in if I think they are going to wake up. Traditionally, I don't deliver gifts if they are awake. I want them sleeping. The first indication of morning, get up and run for the Christmas tree.

Thank you Santa for taking the time to chat with me.

Santa gets up from our small table at the Food Court, bends down and gives me a hearty hug followed by a bellowing Ho-Ho-Ho! I'll see you Christmas Eve in Boston, Johnny!